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Latest Featured Reports | Saturday, November 28, 2015
'Green News Report' 11/24/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Carbon tax coming to Alberta tar sands; Obama: Paris conf must proceed; Senate Repubs to monkeywrench int'l agreement; PLUS: FDA okays GMO salmon for humans...
Previous GNRs: 11/19/15 - 11/17/15 - Archives...
Sunday 'This Means War' Toons
PDiddie's must-see collection of the past shameful week's best -- and most dead-on and occassionally horrifying -- toons...
ISIS Wins in US House; Plus: TPP, NAFTA and the Return of KXL?: 'BradCast' 11/19/15
With guest David Dayen of Salon, Fiscal Times, The Intercept, et al...
'Green News Report' 11/19/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
House GOP's war against climate scientists; October 2015 was hottest on record; Fossil fuel subsidies at $500B/year; UK phases out coal; PLUS: Canada kills another tar sands pipeline...
Previous GNRs: 11/17/15 - 11/12/15 - Archives...
Home of the Brave:
'BradCast' 11/18/15
GOP Governors and Presidential candidates help ISIS dreams come true by turning against refugees from war-torn Syria, as some Americans follow their lead by turning against fellow citizens after the Paris attacks...
How NOT to Respond to the Paris Terror Attacks: 'BradCast' 11/17/15
Anti-war author David Swanson on how we got here, how the media and politicians continue to make it worse, and what we must do instead...
'Green News Report' 11/17/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Climate gets short shrift in 2nd Dem Debate; Yes, climate change is a NatSec threat; Intn'l climate talks in Paris after attacks; PLUS: NY's Cuomo vetoes major NatGas project...
Previous GNRs: 11/12/15 - 11/10/15 - Archives...
A Word About Paris; Coverage of CBS' Dem Debate in Iowa: 'BradCast' 11/16/15
Salon's Heather Digby Parton and longtime GOPer Fred Karger on the debate the DNC didn't want you to watch...
Sunday Somewhat Horrible Toons
PDiddie's round-up of a number of smart toons in the wake of the horrific terror attacks in Paris...
'Very Similar, If Not Identical': DoJ's Big Tobacco Prosecutor on Case Against ExxonMobil: 'BradCast' 11/12/15
Attorney Sharon Eubanks on RICO, conspiracy and the big lies of Big Tobacco and Big Oil...
'Green News Report' 11/12/15
2016 Republican and Democratic Presidential candidates talk climate, energy, and the path forward in GOP Debate and Dem Forum...
Decoding and Debunking Fox Biz Channel's GOP Debate: 'BradCast' 11/11/15
Smartest post-debate analysis anywhere! With journalists Heather Digby Parton and David Dayen...
Impossible Results for OH Pot Measure?: 'BradCast' 11/10/15
Screenshots suggest disappearing 'Yes' votes; OH SoS offers us explanation. PLUS: Calls for KY hand-count...
'Green News Report' 11/10/15
Obama rejects KXL; Big Coal caught lying about climate change; ExxonMobil facing probe; PLUS: 2nd cyclone for Yemen & Sea World responds to critics...
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...
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...

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...

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...

The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

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

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...

The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

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...

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...

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...

By Brad Friedman on 6/12/2015 1:24pm PT  

As you know, last week, Hillary Clinton gave a speech in Texas, calling for expanded early voting in all 50 states and for universal voter registration for all eligible U.S. citizens. During the speech, she also called out some of her potential Republican rivals vying for the GOP's 2016 Presidential nomination, among them, former TX Gov. Rick Perry who, Clinton accurately noted, "signed a law that a federal court said was actually written with the purpose of discriminating against minority voters."

She added, Perry "applauded when the Voting Rights Act was gutted [by the Supreme Court] and said the law’s protections were 'outdated and unnecessary'."

Clinton's remarks there were in reference to the Texas Republicans' draconian polling place Photo ID voting restrictions, which, after being passed in 2011, were barred by the Voting Rights Act (VRA) as discriminatory, before the statute was implemented anyway by state Republicans just hours after the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the provision of the VRA under which the TX voting restriction had been found in violation of that law. Late last year, after a full trial on the merits of the law, a federal judge subsequently found the law to be in violation of other, still-standing sections of the VRA as well as the U.S. Constitution --- and, perhaps worse still, found it to be purposely discriminatory.

U.S. District Court Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos, based on statistics supplied by the state of Texas itself, found the statute could serve to disenfranchise some 800,000 already legally registered voters in the Lone Star state (not to mention hundreds of thousands of others who had yet to register) and slammed both the discriminatory effect and purpose of the law in her written ruling. "The Court holds that SB 14 [the TX GOP's Photo ID restriction] 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 wrote, adding that the law also "constitutes an unconstitutional poll tax."

On CNN, stammering in response to Clinton calling him out in her speech, Perry failed to explain how either Clinton or Judge Ramos was incorrect. "You need a photo I.D. to get a library book, or to get on an airplane," he incorrectly asserted. (More on that below.) "I think we make it pretty easy in the state of Texas for people to vote, so, you know, again, I don't know what her beef is with the people of the state of Texas about voter I.D."

But there's another point about the TX law that neither Clinton nor Perry noted: its discriminatory effect on women, as highlighted in a Letter to the Editor from this week's Concord Monitor in New Hampshire...

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

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Guest: Constitutional law expert Ian Millhiser...
By Brad Friedman on 5/5/2015 4:56pm PT  

On today's BradCast we finally get the chance to catch up on at least one of the big items we missed last week while Baltimore was on fire: the landmark oral arguments at the U.S. Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges, the case which is likely to result (finally!) in the whole big enchilada decision on marriage equality for all 50 states.

Constitutional law expert and reporter Ian Millhiser of Think Progress joins me to discuss the hearing, the history, the likely outcomes, who to watch, and what could happen thereafter.

Also, Huckabee joins the 2016 GOP nomination circus; Chris Christie begs for a subpoena in 'BridgeGate'; more on the Garland, TX 'anti-muslim' group shootings; and Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report with the climate positions of the three new candidates tossing their hats into the 2016 race...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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'Congressman with Guts' says America is being 'hoodwinked'...
By Brad Friedman on 4/30/2015 5:42pm PT  

On today's BradCast, I was joined for the first time by self-described "Congressman With Guts" Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL), just after Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) formally announced his intention to seek the Democratic nomination for President of the United States.

Did Grayson, who shares many views with Sanders, take the opportunity I offered him to be the first elected Dem to endorse the Senator from Vermont for the 2016 nomination? You'll have to tune in to find out, along with what he thinks of Hillary Clinton and why he says "the sound of Mitch McConnell chortling is as disturbing as any sound you're ever gonna hear in your life". It was a fun, very interesting and quite candid interview, frankly.

I will tell you that Grayson did allege that "we've been hoodwinked" on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which he described as "a farce" and the "death knell for the American middle class" after the "worst economic mismanagement in the history of the planet" over the past 20 years since the passage of NAFTA. But, he also notes that he's not allowed to discuss the specifics of TPP, thanks to "the games the Administration is playing with us and the American public". He does, however, point us towards for what he modestly describes as "the most interesting video you're ever gonna see in your entire life." It was just released today.

Grayson also discusses his fellow Democrats and whether they will finally take the legislative steps necessary to overturn Citizens United, if they are ever able to take back control of the U.S. House and Senate. (He says "yes", but only if one particular Democrat becomes House Speaker. Otherwise, he says, "I don't think we can count on the Democrats" to take the steps necessary to restore what the Supreme Court broke.)

All of that and MUCH more on today's BradCast, including breaking news out of Baltimore, from NASA, and even the once great "Republic of Texas"...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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While we'll be posting The BradCast here everyday, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, but to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!

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Guest: Doug Hughes who landed his gyrocopter at the U.S. Capitol...
By Brad Friedman on 4/28/2015 4:50pm PT  

On today's BradCast: What's really going on in Baltimore? We discuss the riots and the reason and turn to Fox "News", of all places, for a bit of sanity! (No, really. Thank you, Shep Smith!)

Then, Doug Hughes, the U.S. postal worker who landed his gyrocopter on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol to bring attention to the need for campaign finance reform in the wake of Citizens United, joins me for a conversation that focuses --- for a change --- on why he actually did it. See his website for more.

It's an "orgy of spending," Hughes told me, and he's hoping to see a "nonpartisan, ground swell voter rebellion" against it. He also talked about his cool gyrocopter, what his bosses at the USPS have done since his brush with infamy, and the failure on behalf of our national security apparatus to stop him. The letter he was attempting to deliver to 535 members of the U.S. Congress is now posted here.

Plus: Marriage equality is winning the day even on Fox 'News', but can it win once and for all in the U.S. Supreme Court?...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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While we'll be posting The BradCast here everyday, to automagically get 'em as soon as they're available, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed.

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By Ernest A. Canning on 4/23/2015 9:02pm PT  

Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court severely curtailed the government's ability to utilize a routine traffic stop as an excuse to subject motorists to a canine-sniff of their vehicles as a precursor to a search for narcotics.

In Rodriguez v. United States, the Court ruled that the right of "seizure" during a routine traffic stop extends only for the length of time necessary to effectuate the purpose of the stop --- a purpose that ends with the issuance of a citation or warning for the routine stop. While the time needed to effectuate the purpose of the stop includes such measures as necessary to protect an officer’s safety, it does not, according to the Supremes, include a "dog sniff" which, as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote on behalf of the court's majority, relates to "the Government’s endeavor to detect crime in general or drug trafficking in particular."

While the 6 to 3 decision (Justices Thomas, Alito and Kennedy dissenting) was handed down in a case in which a motorist was caught transporting methamphetamine inside his car, it also serves to protect the rights of those who are innocent, such as 63-year old Dennis Eckhart, whose nightmarish plight --- including multiple, invasive, forced medical procedures --- all came about as the result of a routine traffic stop and wholly unfounded suspicion by local police...

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

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Some, but not all, attempted GOP cutbacks to Early Voting nixed...
By Brad Friedman on 4/17/2015 12:35pm PT  

A deal announced today by Ohio's Secretary of State may help avoid some of the legal nightmares that plagued the Buckeye State's 2014 elections. While the legal settlement [PDF] restores some of the early voting access Republicans have been attempted, for years, to impose, it also leaves other rollbacks to voting reforms passed after the state's 2004 Presidential nightmare in place.

MSNBC's Zach Roth explains the agreement between Ohio's Republican Sec. of State and the ACLU, which had sued on behalf of the Ohio NAACP and League of Women Voters last year to block new GOP cuts to polling place access:

The deal, announced Friday morning between Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican, and the ACLU, undoes some but not all of the damage to voting access caused by last year's cuts. It restores one day of Sunday voting and adds weekday evening hours, but lets stand the elimination of a week when Ohioans had been able to register and vote all in one day.

Both sides hailed the new agreement --- hopefully ending a years-long, roller-coaster legal battle --- as a victory for voters, though Roth added on Twitter that the deal, overall, seemed to be more of a victory for the GOP than for voting rights advocates. Elections expert Daniel Smith is a bit more optimistic about it today, noting that it's "a much bigger deal to have extended hours" and Sunday "Souls to the Polls" voting restored, even as the ACLU, for its part, concedes the settlement is "far from perfect"...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 4/6/2015 8:35am PT  

A provision added to Ohio's new transportation bill by Republican lawmakers would have made it more difficult --- and expensive --- for out-of-state students to vote in the Buckeye State. The scheme would have required anybody who registers to vote there to obtain an Ohio driver's license and register their car in the state (at a cost of at least $75) within 30 days, or risk losing their right to drive.

That provision, voting rights advocates warned, was likely to deter out-of-state students at Ohio colleges and universities from registering to vote there, despite a long-held U.S. Supreme Court determination that students may register to vote where they attend school.

The good news on this issue is that while Ohio's Republican Gov. John Kasich signed the transportation bill last week, he used a line-item veto to remove the offending provision. But more than a bit of potential confusion --- and the ability to deter student voters from exercising their right --- still looms...

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

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GUESTS: Estee Chandler; Ernest Canning...
By Brad Friedman on 3/25/2015 2:35pm PT  

Was Netanyahu/Likud's win last week in Israel the best possible outcome for Palestinians? While it seems counter-intuitive at first blush, some who follow Israeli/Palestinian politics very closely say it was.

My guest on this week's Pacifica Radio BradCast, Estee Chandler of and the producer/co-host of KPFK's Middle East in Focus program believes that is the case and tells me why. She offers a different (and very welcome) perspective than the Right/Left (and now, sadly, Republican/Democratic) narrative we've heard so much of from most of the media since last week's election.

Also, BRAD BLOG's legal analyst Ernie Canning joins me to discuss the U.S. Supreme Court's refusal to hear the WI Photo ID voting case and what that means for voting across the country in 2016, as well as the error the CA Supreme Court seems to have made when they removed Prop 49 (the "Overturn Citizens United" initiative) from the 2014 ballot last year.

Plus, Ted Cruz' astoundingly ingenious if extraordinary cynical remark the day after he declared his intention to seek the 2016 GOP nomination for President; OH tries a new voter suppression tactic; another predictable Internet Voting failure in Australia; Desi Doyen with the latest Green News Report and MUCH MORE!...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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Decision means Constitutionality of 'discriminatory' voting laws unlikely to be determined by Supremes before 2016 Presidential elections...
By Brad Friedman on 3/23/2015 2:36pm PT  

A few weeks ago, our legal analyst Ernie Canning warned how the U.S. Supreme Court's pending decision on whether or not to hear the ACLU's challenge to the Wisconsin GOP Photo ID voting law might be the last chance before the 2016 Presidential elections to determine the Constitutionality of such laws.

On Monday, the Supreme Court decided not to grant cert in the WI challenge in the Frank v. Walker case. The decision is not a ruling on the merits of the case or the Constitutionality of the law. It simply means that, for now, there were not four votes on the Court to hear the ACLU's challenge at this time.

It also means that, barring further court action or a quick decision on a similar law out of another state, polling place Photo ID restrictions on voters will be allowed in the Badger State in 2016. That, despite the fact that the federal trial court found, when striking down the law as unconstitutional and a violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act last year, that the new Republican-enacted law may serve to bar some 300,000 disproportionately Democratic-leaning and already lawfully registered voters from casting a ballot in the state's Presidential election.

There is also more than a bit of irony in this matter, in that, after U.S. District Court Judge Lynn Adelman soundly rejected the law in 2014 --- finding that "evidence adduced at trial demonstrates" WI's Act 23 "disproportionately impacts Black and Latino voters" and that the law would "prevent more legitimate votes from being cast than fraudulent votes" --- the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals deadlocked (disingenously) 5 to 5 on whether to stay the original ruling. That deadlock meant the stay would be granted and the WI law would be allowed, barring further court challenges, despite the fact that 6 federal judges had voted to strike down the law, while just 5 had voted in its favor. To make matters worse, Act 23 had also been struck down previously in state court as a violation of the state constitution as well. Nonetheless, in this matter, a minority of judges successfully ruled against the majority.

All of that, despite a blistering dissent filed in last year's 7th Circuit Court WI decision by against the law (and all such laws) from revered conservative 7th Court of Appeals Judge Richard Posner. Posner's original ruling in favor of a Photo ID restriction law in Crawford v. Marion County, Indiana, was the basis of the first such case to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, upholding Indiana's Photo ID law in 2008. So his unambiguous reversal on the issue, now that we know much more about such laws, was noteworthy and, opponents of the law had hoped, convincing to the Supremes who have, for many years, favorably cited the legal scholar's opinions.

Though the 7th Circuit's decision to temporarily stay the original ruling striking down the law was later vacated by the U.S. Supreme Court last year --- on the basis that the stay was made too close to the election --- the discriminatory law is now back in place in the state. The refusal by the Court to grant cert this weeks means that it will likely remain in place as the next Presidential election begins.

Some watching these matters closely, however, believe that Monday's decision by SCOTUS to not hear the Wisconsin case may ultimately be a good thing, perhaps "a blessing in disguise"...

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

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Advocacy groups argue court should restore 'advisory measure' for a new Constitutional amendment to 2016 ballot...
By Ernest A. Canning on 3/13/2015 7:05am PT  

Last year, the California State Supreme Court improperly nixed a ballot initiative meant to encourage state Legislators to support an amendment to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court's infamous Citizens United decision, according to a court brief recently filed by several state advocacy groups.

In the summer of 2014, the California state Legislature enacted SB 1272, a ballot initiative (Prop 49), asking California voters to advise whether the state's elected representatives should pursue passage of an Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would overturn Citizens United. The advisory measure, had it been allowed on the general election ballot last year, had sought to establish that corporations are not people and that the rights enshrined in our nation's founding documents apply only to living, breathing human beings.

The effort to permit voters to weigh-in on the subject was cut short when the CA Supreme Court promptly ordered then Secretary of State Debra Bowen to remove Prop 49 from the November ballot pending full briefing and argument with respect to a legal challenge filed by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association ("HJTA") --- an anti-tax organization founded by Republican Howard Jarvis.

As described on the Court's docket sheet, the state Supremes removed Prop 49 from last year's ballot based on a 1984 CA Supreme Court decision, American Federation of Labor v. Eu ("Eu"), which established "that substantial harm can occur if an invalid measure is permitted to remain on the ballot."

In Eu, the CA Supremes struck down a ballot initiative that sought "to compel California's elected representatives, on penalty of loss of salary, to apply to Congress to convene a constitutional convention for the…purpose of proposing an amendment to the United States Constitution requiring a balanced federal budget." (Emphasis added).

But, according to the amicus curiae ("friend of the court") brief, recently filed by Free Speech for People (FSP) and other advocacy groups, the Court's earlier decision in Eu does not support last year's decision to remove the Overturn Citizens United initiative from the 2014 ballot. The brief explains that the state Legislature does, indeed, have the constitutional authority to seek advisory instructions from the Golden State's electorate via the ballot.

FSP not only defends the legality of the Prop 49 initiative, as measured against both the U.S. and California Constitutions, but presents both historical and legal arguments that, if successful, could define the very essence of our (small "r") republican form of government (aka, representative democracy) --- a form of government that is guaranteed in every state by Article 4, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 3/7/2015 1:55pm PT  

President Barack Obama offered a stirring speech this afternoon at the entrance to the Edmund Pettus Bridge to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Bloody Sunday March in Selma, Alabama in 1965.

The brutal police violence brought against courageous, peaceful marchers that day, and the subsequent peaceful marches that followed it, led directly to the passage of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965, widely regarded as one of the most important pieces of legislation in our nation's history.

The transcript of Obama's speech today is posted in full below. But, here is the portion of his remarks calling for the restoration of the VRA which was renewed for 25 years in 2006 by George W. Bush (one of very few Republican officials in attendance today), but then gutted by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013...

And with effort, we can protect the foundation stone of our democracy for which so many marched across this bridge — and that is the right to vote. Right now, in 2015, fifty years after Selma, there are laws across this country designed to make it harder for people to vote. As we speak, more of such laws are being proposed. Meanwhile, the Voting Rights Act, the culmination of so much blood and sweat and tears, the product of so much sacrifice in the face of wanton violence, stands weakened, its future subject to partisan rancor.

How can that be? The Voting Rights Act was one of the crowning achievements of our democracy, the result of Republican and Democratic effort. President Reagan signed its renewal when he was in office. President Bush signed its renewal when he was in office. One hundred Members of Congress have come here today to honor people who were willing to die for the right it protects. If we want to honor this day, let these hundred go back to Washington, and gather four hundred more, and together, pledge to make it their mission to restore the law this year.

Of course, our democracy is not the task of Congress alone, or the courts alone, or the President alone. If every new voter suppression law was struck down today, we'd still have one of the lowest voting rates among free peoples. Fifty years ago, registering to vote here in Selma and much of the South meant guessing the number of jellybeans in a jar or bubbles on a bar of soap. It meant risking your dignity, and sometimes, your life. What is our excuse today for not voting? How do we so casually discard the right for which so many fought? How do we so fully give away our power, our voice, in shaping America's future?

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The complete transcript of Obama's prepared 3/7/2015 speech commemorating the sacrifices of the 3/7/1965 Bloody Sunday March, along with many other sacrifices in our storied and continuing fight for civil rights in the U.S., follows in full below...

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

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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...

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

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Money is now blatantly corrupting U.S. politics, but don't forget who ultimately receives the vast majority of those campaign billions...
By Brad Friedman on 2/4/2015 1:24pm PT  

In flagging Eliza Newlin Carney's piece at CQ Roll Call [subscription req'd], election law professor Rick Hasen notes that "Democracy has become a Cash Cow".

Ya think? As Carney writes:

The Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling that blew the lid off campaign spending five years ago has also ushered in a Gilded Age for the booming political consulting industry.

The paychecks earned by the professionals who create and place ads, raise money, take polls, manage communications and direct strategy draw less scrutiny than the billionaire donors who now drive the increasingly deregulated political marketplace. But political consultants have cashed in handsomely, and are earning more money with less oversight than ever before.

In the three federal elections since the Supreme Court threw out limits on independent political spending, consultants have pocketed a healthy cut of the $13.6 billion spent on campaigns. In the recent midterms, which cost $3.7 billion, $275 million of it was spent by outside groups whose activities are partly or completely undisclosed. Such groups are exempt from FEC rules that bar candidates and parties from misusing campaign money. That leaves consultants who work for those groups unfettered by gatekeepers or regulators.

But while consultants may be getting a larger slice of the pie than ever, you know who else is unfettered to receive even more of that money, as the single largest bulk recipient of all that cash?...

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

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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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