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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, October 24, 2014
Touch-Screens Flip 'No' to 'Yes' on TN Abortion Measure
After the state GOP repealed the law to move to paper ballots, votes now reportedly flipping again on a controversial Amendment to the state Constitution...
More Trouble With Touch-Screens (2014 Edition)
Votes Flip D to R in Texas, R to D in Illinois - What's happening (again), what it means (again), and what you can do about it (please?)...
Christie: GOP Governors Needs to Control 'Voting Mechanisms' in 2016
NJ Governor and 2016 Presidential hopeful offers interesting reason why Republicans in three key states need to win in 2014...
Justice Ginsburg Republishes TX Photo ID Law Dissent After BRAD BLOG Cites Error
Turns out U.S. Veterans' Affairs ID can be used to vote under new GOP voting restrictions in TX. Official SCOTUS opinion updated...
'Mercy', 'Rehabilitation' and 'Restorative Justice'
Sentencing of South Africa's Oscar Pistorius offers stark reminder of concepts that seem to have gone missing from the justice system in the U.S...
'Green News Report' 10/21/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
GOP candidates still dodging climate Qs; Mountaintop removal coal mining promotes lung cancer; 2014 on track as hottest year on record; PLUS: LEGO breaks up with Shell Oil...
Previous GNRs: 10/14/14 - 10/16/14 - Archives...
Everything Old is Texas Again
On the upside though, even if they successfully violate the Constitution by keeping some 600,000 legally registered, disproportionately minority voters from voting this year, they can save some money on signage...
Congresswoman Sets Impeachment Deadline for Federal 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
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?...
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': 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 law's unconstitutionality, judges cite SCOTUS rule on last minute voting changes...
'Green News Report' 10/14/14
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...
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...
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...


Case is larger than Wisconsin, presenting a moment of truth for American democracy and at least two Justices on the high court...
By Ernest A. Canning on 10/2/2014 6:06pm PT  

On Thursday morning, the ACLU filed an Emergency Application to Vacate [PDF] with the U.S. Supreme Court to vacate a Sept. 14, 2014 stay of a U.S. District Court ruling that had, before the stay, permanently blocked enforcement of a Republican-enacted, Wisconsin photo ID voting law.

The civil rights organization argues that the emergency ruling is needed to prevent mass disenfranchisement and electoral chaos during the upcoming Nov. 4 election. It asks that the Court "leave that injunction in force pending the Seventh Circuit's issuance of a decision on the merits."

As the District Court judge had found, before his decision was overturned by a partisan ruling at the Appellate Court level, Wisconsin's attempted restriction on the voting rights of legally registered voters poses a real and present danger that some 10% of the Badger State's duly registered electorate will likely be prevented from voting in the rapidly approaching November 4 election.

The District Court's injunction had been stayed as a result of a deadlocked court, in which five bipartisan members of the ten-judge U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeal described in a Sept. 29 Opinion [PDF] as a "brazen" and "shocking" disregard of both precedent and the right of the minority to vote. That "shocking" position had been advanced by the attorneys representing Republican Gov. Scott Walker and first accepted by an all-GOP, three-judge panel that had issued an extraordinary, 11th hour decision to vacate the lower court's injunction.

The case now poses an enormous test for at least two key Justices on the high court. Will Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy adhere to the very principles they signed on to when they joined the plurality opinion authored by former Justice John Paul Stevens in the landmark 2008 SCOTUS decision in Crawford v. Marion County Board of Elections? That case upheld Indiana's Photo ID law against a "facial" challenge solely because, in the words of the plurality opinion, there was no evidence before the court at the time to prove anyone would be disenfranchised or that their right to vote would be unduly burdened by the law.

In signing onto Steven's lead opinion, both Roberts and Kennedy agreed that election laws, including photo ID voting restrictions, are subject to the Anderson/Burdick test. That test mandates that courts, on a case-by-case basis, measure a law's potential damage to voters' right to vote against the specific claims made by the state as to why such additional burdens and restrictions are necessary. Given that the state has offered no legitimate reason for potentially disenfranchising as much as 10% of Wisconsin's lawfully registered voters, Roberts and Kennedy cannot refuse to lift the stay without a total abandonment of principle...

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

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While concerned about intimidation, court permits expansion of voter challengers, reduction of early voting in 2014 election; But also offers important interpretation of Voting Rights Act provision
UPDATE: North Carolina requests stay at U.S. Supreme Court...
By Ernest A. Canning on 10/2/2014 10:22am PT  

A bit of encouraging voting news came out of North Carolina on Wednesday, believe it or not. We'll see how long it lasts.

By way of a 2-1 decision and a lengthy Opinion [PDF] on Wednesday, a three-judge panel on the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeal ordered U.S. District Court Judge Thomas J. Schroeder, a George W. Bush appointee, to issue a preliminary injunction to prevent the State of North Carolina from implementing two provisions of a sweeping election "reform" bill.

The court sharply criticized the lower court's ruling that previously allowed the law to move forward as is, despite the likelihood of a disproportionate effect on minority voters in the Tar Heel State.

The BRAD BLOG described the bill in question, when it was passed by the GOP legislature last year, as "the nation's worst voter suppression law since the Jim Crow era." The law includes virtually every restriction on voting --- shortening early voting hours, ending same-day registration, implementation of disenfranchising polling place Photo ID restrictions and much more --- ever attempted by Republicans across the country over the past decade. The legislation was, quite literally, rammed through the state's Republican-controlled legislature, with no period for public comment or debate, just one day after a sharply-divided U.S. Supreme Court gutted the heart of the Voting Rights Act in the Summer of 2013.

The majority opinion at the 4th Circuit was highly critical of Schroeder's analysis in the case. They described it as "flawed," containing "grave errors" and "plainly wrong" on the law. The court found that the District Court judge abused his discretion in refusing to issue a preliminary injunction that would prevent implementation of two provisions of the state's H.B. 589.

In their decision, the three-judge panel's majority also offered significant interpretations of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA), that, if ultimately upheld, could minimize the damage wrought by the gutting of Section 5 by the U.S. Supreme Court last year...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 10/1/2014 6:35am PT  

[Now UPDATED at the bottom with "Geraint's" response and our response to it! Enjoy!]

Last night, some silly Rightwing dude calling himself "Geraint Roberts" on Facebook, posted a comment on an item on BRAD BLOG's Facebook page, in which he purported to ask "Questions for American Leftists on the subject of voter ID".

As is our usual, courteous custom (when time allows), we quickly answered his questions.

As most of his "questions" are the same talking points we've seen of late, used by tons of either duped or disingenuous Rightwingers in hopes of justifying GOP voter suppression with polling place Photo ID restrictions, you may find both his questions and our brief answers to them, as posted in full below, interesting and/or helpful...

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By Brad Friedman on 9/29/2014 2:49pm PT  

Bad news for voters in the Buckeye State. Good news for partisan Republicans who prefer to win elections by making it more difficult for voters to vote.

In a 5 to 4 decision, the Rightwingers on the U.S. Supreme Court have now overturned the 6th Circuit's earlier ruling that had blocked Ohio Republicans' attempt to limit early voting by shortening the Early Voting period by one week, eliminating the week where voters could both register and vote on the same day, and by doing away with Sunday voting before the election...

From UC Irvine election law professor Rick Hasen...

Via SCOTUSBlog comes this Supreme Court order staying the district court's order preventing various cutbacks in early voting (including a cutback from 35 to 28 days, and elimination of one of the two early voting days on a Sunday, a day African-American churches had been using for "Souls to the Polls" voter drives). [It is not clear from earlier orders which Sunday might be eliminated.]

Although the order is "temporary" in the sense that it will be in place pending a ruling on a cert. petition ultimately to be filed by Ohio in the Supreme Court, that won't happen before this election, and so for this election the new shorter voting period is in effect --- and not the old rules put back in place by the district court and affirmed by the 6th Circuit.

That the Court divided 5-4 along liberal conservative lines is no surprise...

See Hasen's coverage for his analysis of what happened here, and why he believes it was a mistake to even challenge the OH Republicans' new restrictions on early voting. Please note: We don't necessarily agree or disagree with his analysis, at this time. But you can read it and decide for yourself.

Our most recent coverage of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeal's decision to uphold the lower District Court decision blocking the GOP voting restrictions is here.

The GOP in Ohio has been attempting to shorten and otherwise restrict Early Voting in the state ever since reforms put in place in 2005 --- in response to the embarrassingly disastrous 2004 Presidential Election there --- worked well enough that most of the problems voter had voting had disappeared by 2008. As we have documented over the years, every time they tried to limit those successful reforms, the courts had blocked them from doing so. They did so again this year, until today's 5 to 4 ruling by the Supremes.

It should also be noted that it is, arguably, because John Kerry failed to keep his promise and fight to make sure every vote was counted in Ohio's contested 2004 election, that the U.S. Supreme Court has now gone so hard to the right, with the addition of Justices Roberts and Alito during George W. Bush's second term.

With today's SCOTUS ruling, and the bad news from the partisans on the 7th Circuit concerning WI Republicans' draconian Photo ID voting restrictions, as our legal analyst Ernie Canning detailed this morning, it seems many of this year's most important elections may be won, or lost, in the courts --- before Election Day even gets here.

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Vacant seat on court since 2010 likely made the difference; Ruling, unless overturned, could result in re-election victory for Walker; Emergency petition to U.S. Supreme Court likely...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/29/2014 6:02am PT  

With just weeks to go before mid-term elections and a "too close to call" Gubernatorial contest, disenfranchisement and electoral chaos in Scott Walker's Wisconsin reign supreme. And only the U.S. Supreme Court may now be able to do anything about it.

In a 5 to 5 ruling, an evenly divided, en banc U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeal has issued a Cursory Order [PDF], summarily denying an ACLU Petition for an Emergency Rehearing to put the brakes back on the state Republicans' Photo ID voting restriction in advance of the November election.

The ACLU petition followed on the recent extraordinary ruling by three Republican appointees to the federal bench that had vacated a permanent federal court injunction of the law. That injunction, until it was lifted by the three-judge 7th Circuit panel just weeks ago, prevented Wisconsin from enforcing a Photo ID voting law which a U.S. District Court judge had found would likely result in the disenfranchisement of up to 300,000 perfectly lawful registered voters who lack the now-requisite, state approved photo IDs.

As we recently reported, the ACLU, in its emergency petition, argued that it will be virtually impossible for the Badger state's Department of Motor Vehicles to process the number of official state photo IDs that would be required to insure that every lawfully registered voter who desires to vote would get the opportunity to vote in the upcoming Nov. 4 election. Moreover, thousands of absentee ballots that had already been mailed prior to the 7th Circuit panel's lifting of the injunction may not be counted since they did not include notice of the new rules requiring that they must be accompanied with copy of the voter's photo ID.

Following the 5 to 5 decision of the full 7th Circuit (one seat remains vacant, more on that below), the ACLU and other plaintiffs' only recourse for now will be an emergency petition to the U.S. Supreme Court. Given the deadlock by the 7th Circuit and reasoning applied not only by the original U.S. District Court Judge in this case, and also by a 6th Circuit panel in an Ohio early voting case, as well as by six (6) of the (9) U.S. Supreme Court Justices who took part in a landmark 2008 Photo ID decision --- all decisions which were inconsistent with the reasoning applied by the three-judge 7th Circuit panel in the Wisconsin case, which has now been essentially upheld --- a challenge at the U.S. Supreme Court has at least a reasonable prospect of success.

If you're confused, read on. We'll help you make sense of this...

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

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Repubs file 'Emergency Petition for Rehearing' before full court...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/26/2014 7:48am PT  

Yes, Ohio Republicans are still barred from limiting the early voting period and still required to restore the days and hours they had, yet again, tried to cut off. At least they are barred, again, for now.

On Wednesday, a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeal issued a 50-page ruling [PDF] in which it upheld a lower court's preliminary injunction from three weeks ago that prevented Ohio’s Republican Secretary of State John Husted from implementing a Feb. 19, 2014 GOP-engineered statute, and his own further Directive, which would have drastically reduced the number of early voting days and hours and eliminated same-day registration and voting during the first five days of a previously established 35-day period of early voting in the Buckeye State.

Reflecting the fact that he anticipated an adverse ruling, Ohio's Republican Attorney General Michael DeWine filed an Emergency Appeal for a Rehearing [PDF] by the full 6th Circuit, on the very same day the three-judge panel handed down their decision. His appeal presents essentially the same arguments that have now, repeatedly, been rejected by the courts, first in a 2012 case, Obama for America v. Husted, and now, again, in Ohio State Conference of the NAACP v. Husted...

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

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Another Nathan Sproul worker arrested after 2-year investigation of 2012 GOP voter registration fraud scandal in Sunshine State...
By Brad Friedman on 9/24/2014 6:05am PT  

Well, this is an interesting turn of events. It includes a bizarre twist that even we would not have foreseen, involving a Republican operative who is now threatening legal action against us for reporting (accurately) on his companies' relationship to voter registration fraud and deceptive voter registration practices during the 2012 election and in previous cycles.

Remember that massive, multi-state GOP voter registration fraud scandal just before the 2012 election? The one that started in Palm Beach, Florida, spread to several different counties, then several different states? The scandal resulted in the Republican National Committee firing the Arizona firm they had secretly hired for millions of dollars to carry out voter registration drives and get-out-the-vote efforts in a bunch of key swing-states, including Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Nevada and Colorado in advance of the Presidential Election.

The firm at the center of the RNC scandal was named Strategic Allied Consulting. It was created and run by Nathan Sproul, a notorious Arizona-based Republican operative with a checkered past, who ran Republican voter registration drives and other on-the-ground GOP activist campaigns. Sproul's name was not used in the legal filings which created Strategic Allied Consulting in advance of the 2012 election, due to his various companies facing voter registration fraud allegations and criminal investigations in a number of states going back as far as the 2004 Presidential election. Because of that unfairly tarnished background, Sproul claimed when the 2012 scandal first surfaced, the RNC didn't want his fingerprints on the operation. The RNC was dodgy about the issue, but fired Sproul and his firm in several states once the scandal came to light, despite having paid millions of dollars for the effort.

The BRAD BLOG broke a number of stories related to the RNC scandal at the time, including details on the very first reports of "hundreds" of fraudulent registration forms turned in to the Palm Beach County, FL Supervisor of Elections after they were collected by Sproul's workers and turned in by the local Republican Party.

In the same series of articles, we also exposed the deceptive (and perhaps illegal) registration scheme employed by Sproul's firms in states where they operated. The scheme involved registration workers trained to pretend to be pollsters asking voters who they planned to support in the Presidential election. If they answered the question correctly (Romney) Sproul's workers would help them register to vote. If the unsuspecting citizen answered the "survey" question incorrectly (Obama), the workers would wish them a nice day, and then move on to the next target.

As we documented with video, email and other records at the time, including admissions by Sproul himself, his firm used this same deceptive tactic in state after state and in a number of recent election cycles.

Now, a two-year Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) investigation has finally wrapped up into the 2012 allegations in that state. It has led to yet another arrest of one of Sproul's workers, found no evidence of conspiracy by the company in that state, confirmed The BRAD BLOG's reporting on their deceptive registration technique, and sent Sproul scurrying to threaten us via email (posted below) with a lawsuit...for something...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 9/23/2014 6:05am PT  

Well, it took long enough for Washington Post's editorial board to take notice of wife-beating U.S. District Court Judge Mark Fuller, but at least they finally have...

THE CONSTITUTION says that federal judges "shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour" - for life, that is, unless they commit an impeachable offense. Which brings us to the allegations of domestic violence against Mark E. Fuller, a U.S. District Court judge in Montgomery, Ala.

The paper then details the police response to the horrifying 911 call from Fuller's wife Kelli after the Judge reportedly "threw her to the ground, pulled her by the hair, kicked her and hit her in the face" (the actual 911 call is more horrifying still), leaving her bloodied inside their Ritz-Carlton hotel room in Atlanta on August 9th, and the disturbing similarities to the case of the NFL's Ray Rice, who was also allowed off the hook by the court system after beating up his then-fiancee/now-wife, as "first time offenders". (Even though Judge Fuller's previous wife alleged similar physical abuse during their divorce trial).

And then...

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'It is not only unreasonable, but also mathematically, logically, and physically impossible that by November 4, hundreds of thousands of voters will learn about the need for ID'...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/18/2014 1:30pm PT  

With "electoral chaos" said to be reigning in Wisconsin following last week's extraordinary ruling by three Republican appointees to the federal bench, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed an Emergency Petition for Rehearing En Banc [PDF] before the full U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeal.

The ACLU is seeking the immediate reinstatement of the District Court's injunction of the state Republicans' Photo ID voting law. The lower court had previously found the statute to be, in no uncertain terms, in violation of both the U.S. Constitution and the federal Voting Rights Act.

When they later file briefs, the ACLU and other attorneys representing the plaintiffs in Frank v. Walker will undoubtedly go into greater depth to explain how the three GOP members of the 7th Circuit panel erroneously interpreted the U.S. Supreme Court's 2008 decision in Crawford vs. Marion County Elections Board and how the WI law, "Act 23", is "materially different from" the Photo ID law passed by Indiana Republicans and approved by SCOTUS in 2008.

The emergency filing, however, zeroes in on what the ACLU describes as chaos and disenfranchisement that will likely be caused by an "extraordinary decision" last week, which, they say, seeks to effectuate a "slapdash implementation" of a radical and complex change in the Badger State's election law just seven weeks prior to the November 2014 general election...

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

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Vote against ending debate underscores importance of 2014 elections; Rand Paul, Koch Brothers cut from same cloth...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/9/2014 7:35am PT  

On Monday, the U.S. Senate voted to move forward with a final vote on a joint resolution to propose an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would overturn the Supreme Court's infamous Citizens United decision.

The 79 to 18 vote to end debate and move on to a final vote on the measure included 25 "yes" votes from Republicans. However, The Hill reports, many of the GOP Senators are expected to vote against the resolution, "but by allowing it to proceed [they] ensured that it will tie up the Senate for most of the week." The Senate, which just returned from its 5-week summer recess on Monday, is in session for just two weeks before breaking for mid-term elections. A vote on the resolution may help to run out the clock on other Democratic priorities before the next recess.

Citizens United, as we wrote just after the U.S. Supreme Court's 2010 decision, has "opened the door to the creation of a new master-class under the aegis of the most undemocratic of institutions --- the private corporation." In fact, it has proven to have opened the floodgates for would be oligarchs, like the self-described "libertarian" Koch brothers, to further undermine the very foundation of our representative form of democracy --- a strategy that has resulted in their spending as much as $300 million to win control of the U.S. Senate for Republicans in the upcoming mid-term elections alone.

"We should have debate on this important amendment," Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) declared before casting his vote for cloture, in order to end the debate on Monday. "The majority should be made to answer why they want to silence critics."

One Republican Senator who voted against cloture, who is apparently not even in favor of allowing the U.S. Senate to vote on the measure, is Kentucky's Rand Paul. The similarly "self-described libertarian" Paul, who is not up for re-election this year, but is currently a front-runner for the 2016 Republican nomination for President, joined a minority of his GOP colleagues in voting against allowing the proposed amendment to receive an up or down vote. That vote, as well as his past efforts to shield corporations from democratic and legal accountability, underscore once again that the Kentucky Senator and the infamous Koch brothers are cut from the same cloth.

As Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a co-sponsor of the amendment, observed, the measure entails the "major issue of our time": to wit, "whether the United States of America retains its democratic foundation or whether we devolve into an oligarchic form of society where a handful of billionaires are able to control our political process by spending hundreds of millions of dollars to elect candidates who represent their interest."

If it's up to Rand Paul, clearly he favors the latter.

Monday's vote is also a reminder that the upcoming 2014 mid-term elections are far more important than ordinary citizens may realize. The long-shot resolution, S.J. Res 19, would require two-thirds approval in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives before moving on for ratification as an Amendment to the U.S. Constitution by three-quarters of the state legislatures. Given that extraordinary requirement, those voters who may oppose unlimited "dark money" political spending by corporations and billionaires would have to ignore a blizzard of Koch propaganda this year and vote Democratic or independent candidates into control of both chambers of Congress in order for the Amendment to become a reality.

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First judge to find marriage equality ban Constitutional since landmark 2013 SCOTUS decision, failed to disclose personal financial conflicts in 2010 BP Gulf oil disaster case...
By Brad Friedman on 9/3/2014 12:33pm PT  

Today, a federal judge in Louisiana upheld that state's ban on marriage equality, making him the first to find that such bans are not in direct violation of the U.S. Constitution's Equal Protection clause since the Supreme Court's landmark Windsor v. U.S. decision.

Today's ruling follows an unbroken string of federal decisions --- in both U.S. District and Appellate courts --- striking down similar bans in state after state after the 2013 Windsor decision's determination that the U.S. government may not deny equal benefits to married same-sex couples.

In his ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Martin Feldman, wrote that the concept of same-sex marriage was "nonexistent and even inconceivable until very recently"; that the state had a "legitimate interest...in linking children to an intact family formed by their two biological parents"; and that marriages between two individuals of the same sex was based on "lifestyle choices".

And now, you'll be shocked to learn that Feldman --- a Ronald Reagan-appointee and a close friend of Justice Antonin Scalia (who wrote the Windsor dissent for the Court's minority) --- has a damning record of judicial corruption.

The BRAD BLOG's legal analyst and attorney Ernie Canning offered a damning case for Feldman's impeachment in 2010, after he struck down the federal moratorium on off-shore drilling instituted in the Gulf of Mexico following the deadly 2010 BP oil disaster there.

As Canning detailed at the time, despite financial holdings in the oil industry that would have been directly affected by his own ruling, Feldman failed to properly disclose those conflicts of interest and recuse himself from the case.

"Despite having served as a federal judge for 27 years, Judge Feldman is unfit to sit in judgment of others," Canning wrote in response to the evidence in June of that year. "The only appropriate recourse is for a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, who takes his or her oath of office seriously, to introduce articles of impeachment against Judge Martin Leach-Cross Feldman."

Read Canning's detailed 2010 coverage and call for Feldman's impeachment here...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 8/25/2014 5:32pm PT  

Trying to make sense of all the different court rulings in Wisconsin on their partisan Photo ID voting laws? We'll try to unpack that for you.

The short version: Two different state trial courts found the GOP's Photo ID restriction on voting to be a violation of the state constitution's right to vote. A federal trial court (aka U.S. District Court) similarly found the law to be a violation of various parts of the U.S. Constitution.

The partisan WI state Supreme Court recently overturned the decisions in the two state cases --- literally re-writing the law as they did so (yes, actually legislating from the bench on behalf of Republicans). Wisconsin's Republican Governor Scott Walker, whom recent polls suggest is in a virtual dead heat with his Democratic challenger Mary Burke, then asked the federal appellate court to immediately overturn the U.S. District Court's injunction, which still blocks implementation of Wisconsin's Photo ID law.

Last week, the federal appellate court turned down Walker's request that it immediately overturn the federal injunction. Wisconsin election officials are, at present, still barred from enforcing the controversial law in the Badger State.

Specifically, last week, the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeal issued an order [PDF] in which it refused an emergency stay of the federal court decision permanently enjoining Wisconsin's partisan Photo ID law prior to oral arguments on the merits of the state's federal appeal. Yes, the state not only appealed the adverse ruling in the two state cases (successfully), but they also appealed the initial federal court decision as well.

The permanent injunction in federal court was issued earlier this year by U.S. District Court Judge Lynn Adelman who, in a landmark 90-page decision and order [PDF] following a full trial, found that the Republican-enacted Photo ID law violated the U.S. Constitution and that it was "absolutely clear" that it "will prevent more legitimate votes from being cast than fraudulent votes."

Last month, following the issuance of the two decisions by the sharply divided and extraordinarily partisan Wisconsin Supreme Court which lifted the state court injunctions in two different state cases --- Milwaukee Branch of the NAACP vs. Walker [PDF] and League of Women Voters of Wisconsin v. Walker [PDF] --- Walker filed his Expedited Motion for a Stay Pending Appeal of the Permanent Injunction [PDF] in the federal appellate court.

In it's ruling last week, the 7th Circuit upheld the portion of the Wisconsin Supreme Court decisions which changed the law by directing the state's Department of Motor Vehicles to issue Photo ID cards sans requiring documents, such as birth certificates, for which the elector had previously been required to pay a fee to a government agency. That issue, however, is only one of the reasons why U.S. District Court Judge Adelman initially found the polling place Photo ID law constitutionally infirm. While we will have to await a final decision --- and even that decision will, no doubt, make its way to the U.S. Supreme Court eventually --- the current ruling issued last week suggests that the 7th Circuit did not see that one single issue as sufficient to immediately stay Judge Adelman's permanent injunction in federal court.

The 7th Circuit will hear oral arguments on September 12 --- less than two months prior to the November General Election. It is likely the 7th Circuit will expedite its decision. Stay tuned!

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By Brad Friedman on 8/19/2014 11:36am PT  

The "streets" did not "flare up". The cops in Ferguson flared it up, perhaps, according to pretty much all of the live coverage we followed for hours last night on TV, on the web and, most crucially, on Twitter.

No clue what "problem" Fire Boy above thought he was trying to solve with his 9/11 Wars souvenir, but you can bet it hasn't been solved.

We recently wrote a "Tale of Two Protests" comparing the mostly peaceful protesters of Ferguson, MO following the police shooting of unarmed African-American teen Michael Brown, to the threatening armed protests by supporters of scofflaw rancher Cliven Bundy in Bunkerville, NV earlier this year.

Where the amped-up, Hollywoodized, militarization of the police in Ferguson has resulted, largely, in making the cops look like clowns and idiots for their over-aggressive tactics and firepower (see the front page of today's St. Louis Post-Dispatch above for just the latest example of that buffoonery, here's more), the amped-up, Hollywoodized, militarization of the so-called "Tea Party" "patriot" protesters in Bunkerville and their semi-automatic rifles trained on the heads of law enforcement officials, succeeded in little more than making those protesters look like clowns and idiots. It also offered an apparently compelling reason as to why law enforcement "needs" to arm up in response to such deadly, direct threats.

Meanwhile, over at his own blog today, Patrick Blanchfield offers a related observation of the shameful differences between the nation's treatment of a rancher who stole more than a million dollars from the federal government in Bunkerville, versus the kid in Ferguson who was shot at least six times by a police officer after having, allegedly, taking a handful of cigars from a convenience store. And its additionally embarrassing.

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Fully-militarized police shut down town, try to shut down press coverage, while 'Tea Party' 'patriots' still nowhere to be found...
By Brad Friedman on 8/13/2014 10:34pm PT  

It's not enough that the police are killing unarmed African-Americans in Ferguson, Missouri. Now they're arresting journalists like Huffington Post's Ryan Reilly and Washington Post's Wesley Lowery for sitting in a McDonald's to recharge their cell phones while writing up their coverage of the protests and militarized police riots in response to the police killing of Michael Brown.

Read Reilly's account of his arrest here ("They essentially acted as a military force), and Lowery's here ("'My hands are behind my back,' I said. 'I’m not resisting. I’m not resisting.' At which point one officer said: 'You’re resisting. Stop resisting.'")

Here's a statement sent out tonight by HuffPo's Washington bureau chief Ryan Grim following the arrest, and subsequent release of Reilly and Lowery...

"We are relieved Ryan Reilly and Wesley Lowery are safe, but we are disturbed by their arrest and assault.

"Ryan was working on his laptop in a McDonald's near the protests in Ferguson, MO, when police barged in, armed with high-powered weapons, and began clearing the restaurant. Ryan photographed the intrusion, and police demanded his ID in response. Ryan, as is his right, declined to provide it. He proceeded to pack up his belongings, but was subsequently arrested for not packing up fast enough. Both Ryan and Wesley were assaulted.

"Compared to some others who have come into contact with the police department, they came out relatively unscathed, but that in no way excuses the false arrest or the militant aggression toward these journalists. Ryan, who has reported multiple times from Guantanamo Bay, said that the police resembled soldiers more than officers, and treated those inside the McDonald's as 'enemy combatants.' Police militarization has been among the most consequential and unnoticed developments of our time, and it is now beginning to affect press freedom."

With all due respect to Grim, and I have much, while "police militarization" has, indeed, been among the most consequential developments of our time, it has not gone "unnoticed" and it has been "affect[ing] press freedom" for quite some time. The BRAD BLOG burned quite a few late-night pixels in a whole bunch of stories back in 2011 during the hey-day of the Occupy Movement trying to make exactly that point loud and clear, and again in 2012 when journalists were being arrested for their coverage. (And, certainly, years earlier than that as well.)

At the time, we also noted that the pretend patriots of the "Tea Party" movement didn't seem to give a damn about any of it, which still rings true today, as we echoed tonight on Twitter while we catching up with the evening's ongoing madness in #Ferguson...

But I'm certain the "patriots" will be arriving anytime now to help restore liberty to the citizens of Ferguson, unless they're home polishing their big manly rifles so they can help "protect our American rights and freedoms"...

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UPDATED with response, petition from 'Yes on Prop 49' proponents...
By Brad Friedman on 8/11/2014 9:49pm PT  

The "Overturn Citizens United Act", or Prop 49, will not appear on California's ballot this November after all.

As we reported in some detail last month, the unusual "advisory measure" was placed on the ballot very recently by the California state legislature. It called for Congress to "propose an amendment...to the United States Constitution" to overturn the infamous Citizens United decision and its progeny, and "to make clear that the rights protected by the United States Constitution are the rights of natural persons only."

But now, the state Supreme Court in California, dominated by 5 Republican appointees and 1 Democratic appointee, has intervened to remove the measure from this year's general election ballot, as the Sacramento Bee reports tonight...

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

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