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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, March 6, 2015
Will the Photo ID Legal Mess of 2014 Be Repeated in 2016 or Resolved by SCOTUS Now?
Court's decision on whether to hear a challenge to the Wisconsin GOP's 'unconstitutional' voting restriction is a moment of truth for democracy...
'Green News Report' 3/5/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Gag order lifted in Blankenship case; Sea levels rose 5" in 2 years; Oil drillers dumping in CA; Pollution rules cut asthma in half; PLUS: Repubs fail to override Keystone XL veto...
Previous GNRs: 2/26/15 - 3/3/15 - Archives...
Gag Order Lifted in Criminal Indictment Against Infamous Coal Boss Blankenship
Media outlets successful in lifting order in case against former Massey Energy CEO following nation's worst mine disaster in 40 years...
'The Justice Talk Radio Says You Deserve!'
'Nightly Show' slams Israeli Prime Minister Benjanim Netanyahu's brazen political play in the U.S. Congress...
Restaurant Pays 101-Year Old For Birthday Breakfast
Today's not-annoying news: New Hampshire's Jospeh Nelson lives long and profits!...
AL's Republican Supreme Court Blocks Marriage Equality
As with all GOP 'governing' of late, if they just wish it enough, it must be true!...
'Green News Report' 3/3/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
A snowball's chance in the US Senate; Record warmth in US West; Big Oil calls for price on carbon; PLUS: In 1983, scientists warned GW would trigger unrest in Middle East. It has...
Previous GNRs: 2/26/15 - 2/24/15 - Archives...
MSM Ignores 'Climate Change' Despite Record Warm West
If it's cold in Manhattan, little else seems to matter, at least judging from coverage of unprecedented warmth in the West...
After the Low-Hanging Fruit of 'Net Neutrality'
With the hard fought victory for an open Internet now largely won, it's time for media reformers to return attention to reclaiming our public airwaves...
'Tea Party' Leader Now Begging for Health Care Funds
Former Sheriff Richard Mack, who hid behind the women on the 'front lines of freedom' at the Bundy Ranch last year, now asking public to pay for his and his wife's health care...
Inhofe's Argument Puts Climate Science on Ice
Sen. Inhofe, Chair of the U.S. Senate Environment Committee, offers a persuasive case that global warming is a hoax. Sen. Whitehouse, somehow, musters a response...
Can the FCC's 'Net Neutrality' Ruling Survive Legal, Congressional Challenges?
While the American public won a huge victory with the FCC's decision, will the ruling hold up to inevitable challenges coming its way?...
'Green News Report' 2/26/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Climate change and our extreme winter; Geo-engineering is madness, but... (CUE THE CHEMTRAILS!); Shell nixes Canadian tar sands; PLUS: Sucker born every minute...
Previous GNRs: 2/24/15 - 2/19/15 - Archives...
'U.S. Electoral Integrity Worst Among Long-Established Democracies': New Report
Worse than Mexico, better than Barbados: Harvard, Univ. of Sydney study finds U.S. elections ranked 45th among 107 nations...
'Green News Report' 2/24/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
GNR's 6th Anniversary! VETOED: Obama nixes KXL; EXPOSED: Top denier outed; BUSTED: Feds clip Duke Energy; PLUS: Sorry, deniers, don't blame the sun...
Previous GNRs: 2/19/15 - 2/17/15 - Archives...
Top Climate 'Skeptic' Hid Fossil Fuel Payments
Docs reveal oft-cited Dr. Wei-Hock 'Willie' Soon failed to disclose funding from the Kochs, ExxonMobil, others when publishing 'scientific' papers disputing global warming...
Dems Call for 'Right-to-Vote' Amendment
DNC adopts resolution calling for explicit individual right to vote to be added to the U.S. Constitution and for 2016 state ballot referendums in support...
Not Very Funny: David Swanson
"You don't have to 'Approve' or 'Disapprove' of Obama in some simplistic overall sense. There is no requirement in life or politics to be as stupid as a pollster's questions"...
When Presidential Selfies Were Hilarious
A sitting U.S. President joking about signing up for health care isn't funny or dignified! But you know what is?...
'Green News Report' 2/19/15
Another day, another oil explosion; 'Anti-petroleum' activists a security threat, says Canada; Jan. 2015 is 2nd hottest on record; PLUS: Obama on 'our best idea'...
Photo ID Restriction Bill Killed in Nebraska
A solid, bipartisan defeat of a polling place Photo ID law the Nebraska's 'non-partisan' legislature is very good news for voters...for a change...
Fox 'News' Exposes 'Biggest Science Scandal Ever Known!'
Except, you'll be shocked to learn, it isn't a scandal at all...and they are absolutely wrong. Again...
'Green News Report' 2/17/15
Another day, another TWO oil train explosions; Schizophrenic weather pounds U.S.; Southwest about to get a lot drier; PLUS: Ohio bans local fracking bans....
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...


Court's decision on whether to hear a challenge to the Wisconsin GOP's 'unconstitutional' voting restriction is a moment of truth for democracy...
By Ernest A. Canning on 3/6/2015 2:03pm PT  

As we find ourselves smack dab on the 50th anniversary of the Bloody Sunday march for voting rights in Selma, Alabama, there are some key decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court, coming very soon, which may well determine whether millions of otherwise lawfully registered and disproportionately Democratic-leaning African-American and Hispanic voters will be prevented from voting in the 2016 elections.

The decision that emerges from the Supreme Court's March 20, 2015 Conference in the Wisconsin polling place photo ID case, Frank v. Walker, could well be dispositive in that regard. It also may be the last chance to avoid the legal chaos that plagued the 2014 elections, during which similar voting restrictions, in state-after-state, were implemented, struck down, restored, or, with respect to Wisconsin, blocked again. Where, last year, the Court's eleventh hour decisions preserved the right to vote in Wisconsin, that same Supreme Court, on the eve of the 2014 mid-term, eliminated the right to vote for hundreds of thousands of predominantly African-American and Hispanic voters in Texas and North Carolina. The failure of the Supreme Court to take up the issue now could produce an even darker cloud of doubt over the integrity and legitimacy of the 2016 Presidential Election.

The immediate issue now before the Court is not whether SCOTUS agrees with a U.S. District Court judge and half the judges on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeal that WI's law (aka Act 23) is both unconstitutional and violative of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. As those judge found, Act 23, if implemented in the Badger State, could disenfranchise more than 300,000 lawfully registered Wisconsin voters.

Rather, the immediate issue at the March 20 Conference is whether the Supremes will grant an ACLU petition for a writ of certiorari (aka "cert petition") and schedule oral arguments on the Constitutionality of the Republican-enacted law. Or whether, as urged by the attorneys representing WI's Republican Governor Scott Walker, the Court will defer its decision until similar legal challenges to strict photo ID laws in other states, such as North Carolina and Texas, wind their way through the trial and appellate courts.

In other words, do they hear the Wisconsin case now, as urged by the ACLU and other voting rights advocates? Or do they wait to combine the matter with several other challenges to substantively identical voting restrictions implemented by Republicans in other states, as urged by one of the men who stands to benefit from delaying such a decision as long as possible?

That decision whether to hear the case now, rather than later, may well have a huge impact on who will serve as the next President of the United States...

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By Brad Friedman on 3/3/2015 9:15pm PT  

It's kind of remarkable what seems to be going on in our country right now. Amidst the years-long ongoing Rightwing hissy-fit over "Obamacare", the GOP has, of late, been enjoying another one concerning immigration. That latest resulted in a completely pointless delay in Congressional funding of the Department of Homeland Security, as the Right pretended that because they really really want something to happen, it must happen. Ya know, kinda like a three-year old.

The GOP Congress gave up the ghost of that particular hissy-fit, at least the part where they pretended they wouldn't fund DHS because of it, earlier today. But there will be more ahead. "I also shudder for the future of this Congress," Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said after the House finally approved the clean funding everybody knew they eventually would.

And now, tonight, we've got a similar hissy-fit from the Alabama Supreme Court, as they pretend they can overrule the federal courts in regard to Constitutional equal rights protections...

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By Brad Friedman on 2/21/2015 2:43pm PT  

[UPDATED to reflect the successful adoption of the resolution.]

While Republican state legislatures around the nation have been working to limit access to the polls over recent years, Democrats moved a non-partisan initiative forward over the weekend to help expand --- or, at least, to help protect --- the franchise for all Americans.

At their Winter Meeting in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, the Democratic National Committee unanimously voted to adopt a resolution calling for a "Right-to-Vote" Amendment to be added to the U.S. Constitution.

According to the resolution, posted in full below, the Democrats are calling for "amending the United States Constitution to explicitly guarantee an individual's right to vote."

The resolution also calls on "state parties to work with state lawmakers and others to access the need to petition for a statewide referendum on the November 2016 general election ballot (and all states where this is possible), advocating to amend the United States Constitution to explicitly guarantee an individual's right to vote."

As the document stresses, there is currently no such explicit right stated in our nation's founding document, although several amendments bar the restriction of access to the polls based on race, sex and age. It also notes that while, in the past, the U.S. Supreme Court "has called the right to vote a fundamental right," the court's 2013 decision striking down a key element of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 has served to "undermine" that right.

"Of the 119 nations that elect their public officials using some form of democratic elections," the resolution notes, "108 have the right to vote in their constitution, but the United States is one of the 11 nations --- including Australia, the Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, India, Indonesia, Nauru, Samoa, and the United Kingdom --- that does not explicitly contain a citizen's right to vote in its constitution."

"A 'right to vote' constitutional amendment applies to and should be supported by all Americans because it is (a) nonpartisan - not Democratic, Republican or independent; (b) non-ideological - not liberal or conservative; (c) non-programmatic - it does not require you to support or oppose any particular legislative program(s); and (d) non-special interest - its application is not limited to minorities, women, labor, business, seniors, lesbians and gays or any other special interest groups."

The full resolution, adopted on Saturday, February 21, 2015, at the DNC Winter Meeting, follows below...

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'One step closer', says Congresswoman calling for accountability of federal judge arrested on wife-beating charges last year...
By Brad Friedman on 2/16/2015 2:30pm PT  

In case you thought the clamor, such that it is, for accountability for U.S. District Court Judge Mark Fuller has waned, it hasn't. At least according to some behind-the-scenes, bi-partisan budgeting measures in the GOP-controlled U.S. House Judiciary Committee, which is now quietly preparing for the possibility of impeachment proceedings against George W. Bush's 2002 lifetime-appointee to the Alabama federal bench.

Fuller was arrested last August on charges related to physically abusing his wife in an Atlanta hotel room after she called 911 asking for help and an ambulance as the dispatcher heard what sounded like the Judge beating her. Here's a portion of Kelli Fuller's chilling phone call...

As Ken Hare of Montgomery's NBC affiliate WSFA summarized last week, when police responded to the 911 call at the Ritz-Carlton in Atlanta, Fuller's wife had "visible lacerations to her mouth and forehead," according to the police report. She told police the Judge "threw her to the ground and kicked her" in response to confronting him about an alleged affair with his court clerk. (Her own affair with Judge Fuller, ironically, began during his previous marriage, while she served as his court bailiff.) The police report says Kelli Fuller "stated she was dragged around the room and Mr. Fuller hit her in the mouth several times with his hands."

Despite the startling claims, supported by both evidence found by police in the hotel room, the audio of the 911 call excerpted above and eerily similar assertions made in court documents by Fuller's previous wife during their 2012 divorce, the state court in Atlanta allowed Fuller to enter a minimal pretrial diversion program which, once successfully completed, will completely expunge his criminal record --- as if his arrest on domestic battery charges never even happened.

While Fuller may get off the hook for criminal charges, his $200,000/year lifetime appointment to the federal judiciary is another matter. Unless he resigns or retires, the only way that a federal judge can be forced off the federal bench is through an act of Congress. And it is that act, the rare impeachment of a sitting federal judge, which the U.S. House Judiciary Committee has now budgeted for in its new session...

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By Brad Friedman on 1/23/2015 3:33pm PT  

While the specific names of U.S. Senate and House committees don't always foretell precisely what very specific areas they may oversee or regard as their own purview, the renaming of such a committee by its new chair, as is occasionally done at the start of a new session, particularly when control of the chamber changes hands from one party to another, can be very telling.

I believe this may be one such instance where quite a bit can actually be read into the new name for what had previously been the U.S. Senate Judiciary committee's "Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights"...

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(If they are capable of being embarrassed...)
By Ernest A. Canning on 1/22/2015 5:52pm PT  

Sean Hannity and his friends on the Republican right must be furious about the outrageous land grab happening to private American citizens in Nebraska. Wait, what? He's in favor of the Keystone XL pipeline project anyway? How could that be?

The pipeline's owner, TransCanada Corp., has now filed an eminent domain action in a Nebraska state court seeking to force private landowners to grant an easement that would permit the Canadian-owned company to erect sections of the highly controversial Keystone XL on privately owned land.

The new filing comes on the heels of a controversial decision earlier this month in which a 3-judge minority of the 7-judge Nebraska Supreme Court were permitted to overturn a lower court ruling that the process by which the state's Republican Governor Dave Heineman permitted TransCanada to revise the pipeline's route was unconstitutional. Heineman's decision was upheld because of a Cornhusker state requirement that state constitutionality be determined by a super-majority of high court's justices. (The new route was necessary after both the Republican Governor and GOP-controlled state legislature objected to the originally-planned route.)

While the Nebraska Supreme Court's decision at the time served to shift the immediate focus of the debate back to Washington D.C., where the Republican-controlled House voted for fast-track approval of the pipeline and a similar bill is quickly working its way through the newly GOP-controlled U.S. Senate, TransCanada's eminent domain filing in the state may prove a major embarrassment to those same elected Republicans. Many of those same GOPers, and their mouthpieces in the media like Hannity, have previously declared fierce opposition to eminent domain abuse that occurs when either state or local entities condemn properties owned by ordinary citizens, where such condemnations primarily benefit commercial interests of wealthy corporations and developers...

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'Rephrased' questions to be heard by Court may not result in as definitive ruling as hoped, expected...
By Brad Friedman on 1/20/2015 6:35am PT  

UC Irvine law professor Rick Hasen was among the first to notice the "strange rephrasing" of the questions the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear [PDF] when it combined four different marriage equality challenges on Friday.

The questions from the different appellate court challenges that the Court agreed to entertain --- after the 6th Circuit broke with every other federal appeals court in the nation and allowed restrictions to remain on marriage rights in Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee --- were combined to just two questions on which the Supremes agreed to hear arguments:

1) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex?

2) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state?

Hasen described the way the first question was written as "quite odd", explaining: "Rather than ask about an equal right of gays and lesbians to marry same sex partners, it asks about the right of the states to deny same sex marriage."

Indeed, amid the jubilation following the narrow 2010 ruling by SCOTUS in the Windsor case, which effectively struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), The BRAD BLOG's legal analyst Ernest Canning pointed out that "by limiting its decision...the court left open to future adjudication of two vitally important questions":

1. Do same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry in states which have not formally recognized the right to do so?

2. Must states, which do not permit same-sex couples to marry, recognize the marital rights of those same-sex couples who have chosen to marry in other states where it is permitted?

Note the difference in the wording of Canning's "unresolved questions" from 2010 and how the Court has subtly adjusted the issue raised in the first question to become one of state's rights, rather than of equal justice under the law for the same-sex couples to be married there.

Hasen observes that the Court's new wording also "leaves open the possibility that states could get out of the marriage business entirely," as unlikely as they may seem. Other legal experts, such as Ilya Shapiro at Forbes, agreed the re-wording of questions by the Court was "unusual". "Typically the justices simply decide whether to take a case based on the petitioners' articulation," he explained.

Hasen says the unusual reframing by the Court and the late hour in the day on Friday that their order was finally released, "raises the question of why were they rewritten" in the way they were, and "with an accompanying direct order --- I've not seen that before --admonishing the parties to stick with discussing these questions presented."

So, is something afoot here?...

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By Brad Friedman on 1/5/2015 6:05pm PT  

As Florida prepares to become the 36th state in the union to follow the Constitution and allow marriage equality after midnight tonight, Jeb Bush is still trying to figure out how to win the 2016 nomination for President from the base of the Republican Party, while still maintaining viability for a national general election.

When asked over the weekend, after a round of golf, to comment on court rulings that will lead to same-sex marriage becoming legal across the Sunshine State on Tuesday (and already today in Miami-Dade County), Bush muttered to the Miami Herald:

"It ought be a local decision. I mean, a state decision," the former governor said Sunday in a brief interview. "The state decided. The people of the state decided. But it's been overturned by the courts, I guess."

After the comment was met with criticism from advocates of the Constitution as well as Miami-Dade's Republican mayor who said he "believes adults should be free to marry whomever they desire" and that he "respects anyone's right to marry, gay or straight," Jeb attempted a mulligan and offered the following, almost impossibly non-committal, have-it-all-ways official statement...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 1/5/2015 7:05am PT  

- with Brad Friedman

[An earlier version of this article was originally published by Truthout...]

Both election integrity advocates and dissembling GOP proponents of Photo ID voting restrictions were taken by surprise in late 2013 when 7th Circuit Court Judge Richard A. Posner said, during an interview with HuffPo Live, that the landmark 2008 Supreme Court decision on the matter "would have been decided differently" if the Court had known then "about the abuse of voter identification laws."

That, in and of itself, was a remarkable turn of events. What was ultimately to come was even more so.

Crawford v. Marion County Election Board is the case which Republican proponents of strict Photo ID voting laws now (incorrectly and often disingenuously) cite as giving them carte blanche to enact similar laws in other states, irrespective of the extent to which photo ID laws serve to disenfranchise demographic groups --- minorities, students, the poor, women --- that all tend to vote for Democrats.

Posner is not just any judge. He is a renowned legal scholar and Reagan appointee to the federal bench, who has served on the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeal since 1981. More importantly here, Posner was the author of the 7th Circuit's opinion in Crawford. In that case, Posner rejected an allegation that Indiana's polling place photo ID restriction was unconstitutional. That decision was affirmed at the time by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Posner, who is, as Yale Law Professor Fred Shapiro notes, the most cited jurist of the 20th Century, was not alone in his view in 2013 year that Crawford "would have been decided differently" if the Court knew then what it knows now.

Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, the author of the plurality opinion in Crawford --- an opinion that was joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Kennedy --- told the Wall Street Journal following Posner's remarks at the time, that he "always thought that [dissenting Justice] David Souter got the thing correct, but my own problem with the case was that I didn't think the record [before the Court in 2008] supported everything he said in his opinion." Souter would have struck down the Indiana law as unconstitutional because, as he argued at the time, it "threatens to impose nontrivial burdens" upon the right to vote.

Joined by four other 7th Circuit jurists last October, Posner penned an extraordinarily powerful and compelling dissent [PDF] in Wisconsin's photo ID voting case. The previously missing evidence is now in, as the judge meticulously detailed in the opinion. GOP claims that photo ID restrictions are needed to combat "voter fraud", he wrote, are "a mere fig leaf for efforts to disenfranchise voters likely to vote for the political party that does not control the state government"...

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.

Posner's carefully crafted dissent does more than establish why the U.S. Supreme Court should ultimately sustain the District Court's finding that Wisconsin's photo ID law is both unconstitutional and a violation of the Voting Rights Act --- a finding later echoed by a federal District Court in Texas as well. Posner's dissent obliterates the factual premise that had served as a pillar upon which his, and subsequently the Supreme Court's, decisions in Crawford were based.

Polling place photo ID laws do not promote voter confidence in the integrity of elections, as Posner and the Crawford Supreme Court plurality had erroneously assumed. The assertion that they do was a "mistake" --- Posner's mistake! --- and he now admits as much, with the support of devastating new data from recent studies to back him up.

His powerful dissent amounts to more than just a response to the Wisconsin GOP's new Photo ID voting law. It is an elegant plea that the U.S. Supreme Court finally right a grievous wrong that he was personally responsible for. Posner presents an astonishing, air-tight case for ruling that all "strict Photo ID laws," which, as he demonstrates, have only been enacted in states sporting GOP-controlled legislatures, must now be struck-down as unconstitutional...

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Standards applied by the Allies after WWII to those who tortured my father help to explain why a special prosecutor should investigate Bush Administration officials for war crimes today...
By Ernest A. Canning on 12/30/2014 6:35am PT  

If there is a downside to the recently released executive summary of the U.S. Senate Torture Report [PDF], it can be found in the extraordinary lengths to which it goes to demonstrate a long-established fact: Torture is ineffective as a means for extracting actionable intelligence.

Emboldened by that focus, U.C. Berkeley Law Prof. John Yoo authored a response to the Senate Torture Report by way of a recent, Los Angeles Times op-ed. In 2002, while serving as the Deputy Assistant U.S. Attorney General, Yoo authored a memo that green-lighted CIA torture following the 9/11 attacks. The memo, according to UC-Irvine's renowned constitutional law professor Erwin Chemerinsky, should now serve as the basis for the prosecution of Yoo for war crimes. Shielded by the Obama/Holder Dept. of Justice's refusal to prosecute, Yoo shamelessly argued in his Los Angeles Times editorial that the newly released Senate Torture Report had shifted [emphasis added] "the debate beyond legality to effectiveness."

The issue of torture's "effectiveness" is not and never has been an appropriate subject for "debate." Robert Colville, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights makes that clear in referencing the U.N. Convention against Torture, an international human rights treaty to which the U.S. is a signatory. "Torture is prohibited absolutely, in all circumstances, at any time," he explains in regard to the treaty signed by President Ronald Reagan. "It cannot be practiced in war, in peace, during emergencies, during internal instability, any circumstances whatsoever."

Those legal proscriptions apply not only to those who carry out torture but also, under the principle of "command responsibility," to high level officials who facilitate or fail to prevent torture by their subordinates.

As I revealed in my five-part series on the History of CIA Torture: Unraveling the Web of Deceit back in 2009, for me, torture is exceedingly personal. In late 1942 my father, James R. Canning, was waterboarded at Shanghai's Bridge House, an infamous torture chamber --- something that entailed a frightening, traumatic and "exquisitely painful," six-hour ordeal. He eventually signed a "false confession" stating that he was a British agent, even though he knew it wasn't true and even though he believed at that moment he was signing his own death warrant.

This Partial Trial Transcript [PDF] includes my father's testimony at the 1948 Hong Kong War Crimes Trials. It exposes the hypocrisy in the Obama/Holder DoJ's failure to apply the same ("command responsibility") legal standard to Yoo, former Vice President Dick Cheney --- who now proudly declares "I'd do it again in a minute!" --- and other high-level, Bush administration officials.

In 1948, that "command responsibility" standard was used to convict Lt. General Eiichi Kinoshida, who received a life sentence even though there was no evidence he personally participated in torture.

If we are indeed, as proclaimed by Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) in her Forward to the Senate Torture Report, a "nation of laws," President Obama will heed the calls now being made by the ACLU, Human Rights Watch and even by The New York Times to appoint a special prosecutor who would investigate the crimes the CIA allegedly committed at the behest of Cheney et al --- crimes that appear as heinous and more so than those that were inflicted upon my father and his fellow civilian inmates during World War II...

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Mind-boggling response to BRAD BLOG: 'No correction warranted'...
By Brad Friedman on 12/15/2014 2:19pm PT  

A few weeks ago, Francis Barry, whose bio identifies him as having "previously served as Director of Public Affairs and Chief Speechwriter for New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg," had a piece published by Bloomberg View (the op-ed arm of the Bloomberg News outlet), portending to examine whether Photo ID voting laws had an adverse effect on turnout this year.

Specifically, as the very first paragraph of his piece explained, Barry claims to have been looking at whether "voter identification laws suppress turnout" since, as he opined in the same graf, "Liberals" argue "not all citizens have the type of ID that many states now require at the polls."

The piece, headlined "Quit Blaming Low Turnout on Voter ID", went out of its way to make the case that such laws had nothing to do with turnout this year, as some states with such laws even saw higher turnout than others without them. While one could attempt to make such an argument, in this case, unfortunately, Barry used extraordinarily deceptive data and moving goal posts in order to do so, as detailed in the emails (posted below) between me, him and one of his editors.

The main trick he employed was an apples to oranges comparison of turnout rates in "21 states that had a competitive gubernatorial or Senate race", where, he misleadingly claimed, "Fourteen of the 21 states had a voter ID requirement in place, while seven didn't".

But here's the thing. Barry deceptively swapped the type of very specific Photo ID laws cited in his first paragraph, with very non-restrictive ID laws that are in use without objection in many states.

When I explained all of this in detail to him and his editors via email (all posted below), the response I received back was, as I noted, "mind-boggling, to be frank"...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 12/9/2014 6:35am PT  

We'll let our friend Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks handle this one...

"Deep irony", indeed.

In addition to the bizarre questions from Louisiana's literacy test for African-American voters in the 1960s that Cenk cites above, here are some of the ridiculously difficult questions from one of Alabama's Jim Crow-era tests [PDF] that we cited back in 2010 when immigration foe and former Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo was similarly calling for literacy tests:

"If a person charged with treason denies his guilt, how many persons must testify against him before he can be convicted?"

"If a president does not wish to sign a bill, how many days is he allowed in which to return it to Congress for consideration?"

"If the United States wishes to purchase land for an arsenal and have exclusive legislative authority over it, consent is required from [fill in the blank]."

Yes, it's ironic that these idiots from Fox "News" and elsewhere on the right seem to know so little about American history that they'd call for literacy tests for voters without understanding that such tests were found to be illegal and unconstitutional as practiced in the Jim Crow South. Aside from being ironic, however, it's also very lucky for brain-dead Fox viewers that literacy tests aren't required for voting, given that study after study after study find them among the least informed Americans.

[Hat-tip @DRTucker]

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State Republicans' attempt to delay next summer's trial described as 'unsupportable', 'disingenuous'...
UPDATE: Court Denies Motion to Delay Trial...
By Ernest A. Canning on 12/5/2014 2:03pm PT  

North Carolina Republicans are now seeking to delay the full federal trial challenging their massive election reform law, which has been described as the worst-in-the-nation and as a "monster" voter suppression law.

The tactic threatens to, once again, undermine any ruling by the court, should it be made too close to the state's 2016 elections. The trial in the case had previously been set, according to a timetable established in federal court in December of 2013, to take place during the July 2015 trial calendar. State Republicans, however, now argue that a separate state court challenge to one section of its massive voter suppression law, scheduled during the same period next summer, will "severely prejudice" their ability to defend themselves in the federal case which follows it.

Plaintiffs argue in response that the move is "another step in Defendants continued attempts to delay the ultimate resolution of this action."

The attempt to re-schedule comes from the same North Carolina Republicans who, this past October, successfully persuaded the U.S. Supreme Court to stay an appellate court order restoring a number of voter registration and voting provisions that were blocked by the state GOP's law, simply because the court order restoring those voting rights was issued too close to the Nov. 4, 2014 election.

The state's argument at the time was that "Court orders affecting elections...can themselves result in voter confusion and consequent incentive to remain away from the polls. As an election draws closer, that risk will increase."

The trial which the state is now attempting to stall is in response to the same federal lawsuit involving legal challenges to the state's Voter Information Verification Act ("VIVA"). This site, and many others, described the legislation as the "nation's worst voter suppression law since the Jim Crow era," when state Republicans enacted the extraordinarily wide-reaching restrictions on voting and registration in NC within days of the U.S. Supreme Court gutting a key portion of the Voting Rights Act in the summer of 2013...

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

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Letter to 11th Circuit from Goodlatte (R) and Conyers (D) seeks update on special probe into battery arrest of Judge Mark Fuller...
By Brad Friedman on 12/3/2014 6:05am PT  

The bi-partisan leadership of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee has sent a letter to the U.S. Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit, seeking an update on their investigation into the August domestic battery charges and prosecution against Alabama federal Judge Mark Fuller.

Judiciary Committee chair Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and ranking Democrat John Conyers (D-MI) sent the letter on Monday to the circuit's Chief Judge Ed Carnes and to Judge Gerald Tjoflat who is heading the Special Committee convened by the 11th Circuit to investigate the wife-beating incident by the George W. Bush-appointed federal jurist.

The letter from the House Judiciary Committee raises the possibility of impeachment of Fuller. The missive follows a vow by Alabama Rep. Terri Sewell (D) to seek articles of impeachment against Fuller in the U.S. House, as well as calls by the rest of the state's Congressional contingent who have stated that the U.S. District Court Judge should resign his lifetime appointment to the federal bench.

Fuller was arrested on the night of August 9th, after his wife made a disturbing 911 call from an Atlanta hotel room requesting an ambulance, while telling the operator that the judge was "beating on her". (The audio of the call, in which she is heard being struck, is posted at the end of this article.) Police found Fuller's wife Kelli bloodied and bruised along with other signs of violence in their Ritz-Carlton hotel room. He has been allowed by the state court to enter a pretrial diversion program and will have all charges dismissed, as if the incident never happened, once he successfully completes a program of once-a-week visits with a domestic abuse counselor.

Whether or not charges against Fuller are dropped by the state judge, the U.S. Congress may impeach and remove him from his $200,000/year lifetime appointment.

The letter (posted in full below) says "The allegations against Judge Fuller raise serious, substantial and troubling questions that have been the focus of constant attention and close monitoring by the Committee on the Judiciary since August 2014 when reports first appeared of his arrest for a violation of state criminal law"...

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

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Despite 'army' of monitors and new smartphone app, discredited org uncovers just 18 'irregularities', 0 polling place impersonation...
By Brad Friedman on 11/6/2014 1:03pm PT  

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

For some reason, this tweet of mine, from about 4am on Election Night, has become very popular...

Perhaps we can chalk up its popularity to the joke it makes of right wing groups like "True the Vote" which has, since its dubious inception, received and spent a fortune over the years tripping over its own wingnut feet to publish fake "voter fraud!" data, find itself tossed out of courts, harass legal voters attempting to cast legal votes, and otherwise make repeated jackasses of themselves by attempting to perpetuate the well-worn, but fact-shy Republican hoax that there is a massive Democratic voter fraud epidemic at our polls.

TTV was made even more famous lately when they were cited, by name, by 7th Circuit Court of Appeals judge Richard Posner, a very well-respected Reagan-appointed conservative jurist, in his recent opinion on Wisconsin's Photo ID voting law. In Posner's devastating, must-read dissent decrying such discriminatory laws, the most well-cited legal scholar of the 20th century, according to the Yale Law School's Journal of Legal Studies, described the group's "evidence" of voter impersonation fraud as "downright goofy, if not paranoid," citing "the nonexistent buses that according to the 'True the Vote' movement transport foreigners and reservation Indians to polling places" to illegally cast a ballot.

The solution to the pretend problem that TTV lies to its followers about, is, of course, polling place Photo ID restrictions that, as Judge Lynn Adelman of the U.S. District Court in Wisconsin wrote in striking down that state's discriminatory, unconstitutional law after a full trial earlier this year, serve only to "prevent more legitimate votes from being cast than fraudulent votes."

So the group's newest embarrassing failure to uncover virtually any "voter fraud" at the polling places it monitored in dozens of states during Tuesday's mid-term general elections --- with an army of righteous and disinformed civilian wingnuts armed with a brand-new smart phone app --- comes as little surprise. It is, however, kind of amusing...

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

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