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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


But what it is ain't exactly clear...
By Brad Friedman on 8/1/2013 6:05am PT  

On this week's BradCast on KPFK/Pacifica Radio, I covered both the nation's most extreme voter suppression law in North Carolina (and the facts behind its passage) and the precedent setting verdict in the Bradley Manning case.

But at the heart of it all is something else --- a primal, patriot scream perhaps, as exemplified by the arrest of 83-year old Robert Plummer, Jr. at the state capitol in NC last week (Plummer is a Korean War hero who was also arrested on the Edmund Pettus Bridge with Martin Luther King on Bloody Sunday in Selma, AL during the 1965 march for voting rights, and by the arrests of 80- and 85-year old Joan and Tom Kemble for singing in the Wisconsin state capitol in the same dark week.

The Kembles joined me live on the show to talk about their arrests at the daily sing-along that has been going on every day since Gov. Scott Walker's radical anti-union bill was passed two years ago, and to sing a song or two before their next trip to the pokey for peacefully singing in protest to petition their government for redress of grievances. (Please help all of the WI arrestees pay their legal bills and fines at SolidaritySingAlong.org!)

As usual, there was much more, including Desi Doyen and the latest Green News Report, in between. I hope you'll give it a listen. I think you'll enjoy it.

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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U.S. Supreme Court gutting of Voting Rights Act paves way for radical new restrictions on democracy in Tar Heel State...
By Brad Friedman on 7/25/2013 11:49pm PT  

[This article now cross-published by Salon.]

Late Thursday night, the North Carolina state legislature approved a radical voter suppression bill on a party line vote. The measure, easily the most extreme anti-voter bill passed by any state since the Jim Crow Era, now heads to Republican Governor Pat McCrory for his signature. Court challenges, many of them, will most assuredly follow.

I discussed the Tar Heel State Republicans' horrendous voter suppression law as it moved through the state legislature earlier this week in an article focused on the public pushback against both it, and other radical laws being hurriedly enacted in the state while the Republicans hold veto-proof majorities in both chambers of the state house, as well as the Governorship there. It's the first time in 150 years that that has been the case, and the GOP is making all they can of it, voters be damned.

I also discussed the bill on this week's KPFK BradCast. But I want to highlight just how draconian this massive restriction on voting rights actually is in North Carolina, which, until the complete Republican takeover of the state government in 2012 (thanks to gerrymandering in 2010), had actually been a fairly progressive state by southeast standards, particularly in regard to voting laws.

In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's recent gutting of the important pre-clearance provision of the landmark Voting Rights Act --- the provision which had required states with histories of racial discrimination, like NC, to obtain federal approval before making any changes to voting laws --- NC and other states now "freed" from the yoke of not being able to discriminate, have been on a tear to pass discriminatory laws previously denied under the VRA.

NC has now done that in a way that no other state has yet even tried. They have, in essence, included in this bill every conceivable voter suppression tactic that has ever been dreamed up over the past decade by the Republican Party --- and then some.

UC Irvine election law professor Rick Hasen described the bill as "a nightmare for voting-rights advocates."

It includes draconian polling place Photo ID restrictions (despite any evidence of polling place impersonation in the state), shortens the early voting period and eliminates NC's very successful same-day voter registration program. "But," Hasen adds, "it’s also a laundry list of ways to make it harder for people to vote, and which cannot plausibly be justified on antifraud grounds."

Just take a look at the list of some of the other provisions including in this "nightmare" of an anti-democratic --- as well as anti-Democratic --- voter suppression bill...

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

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Surprise! Despite Republican and Fox 'News' claims of 900+ 'zombie voters', there were actually zero...
By Brad Friedman on 7/9/2013 11:41am PT  

At the beginning of 2012, the Executive Director of the South Carolina State Election Commission demolished the claim, put forward by the state's Republican Attorney General, that some 953 votes in the state had been cast in recent elections by "dead people".

They hadn't, of course, and the claim was little more than a transparent ruse to try and "stuff the ballot boxes" in support of polling place Photo ID restrictions meant to disenfranchise largely minority, poor, elderly and student (read: Democratic-leaning) voters.

Unsatisfied with actual facts and stuff at the time, state Republicans tasked the State's Law Enforcement Division (SLED) with investigating the matter and, what do you know --- despite claims happily aired by Fox "News" from every Republican in the state, from the Governor to the AG to the party apparatchik last year --- it turns out zombie voters are still not voting in SC, no matter how many times the pretend claims are investigated.

After an 18-month probe, just before last week's holiday, when few suckers, chumps, pawns, stooges, Republican Fox "News" viewers might notice, SLED quietly issued a report recommending no further action, and closed its investigation into the completely bogus claims after concluding none of the accusations were true --- as MSNBC's Al Sharpton was kind enough to highlight...


There once was a day when the Republican Party actually fought for legislation concerning actual, real things, right? I seem to recall such a day, though it seems so long ago now...

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By Brad Friedman on 7/3/2013 9:42pm PT  

"In my opinion, you don't need to hedge," Mark Rumold, attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation told me.

"There's no question in my mind", he said, that the surveillance programs revealed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden include both illegalities and unconstitutionalities. They "violate the First and Fourth Amendment of the Constitution" and even "the plain terms of FISA [the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act], the law on which the authority is purportedly based, and...other federal statutes."

Rumold was my guest this week on the KPFK/Pacifica Radio BradCast where my hope was to strip away all of the nonsense "controversy" about Snowden and Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald in order to focus on the actual disclosures, what we know about them, what we don't, and what we know about the lies told by the Administration about them (especially those by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.)

Also, Rumold discussed the status of his EFF lawsuit attempting to force the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to release their 2011 finding on the illegalities/unconstitutionalities of one of the very few programs that they actually rejected.

If you are confused about any or all of that, today's show is a great primer on those key points and several more. The BRAD BLOG's legal analyst Ernie Canning described today's BradCast as "fascinating stuff." And though he may be somewhat biased, I --- who am completely objective on these things --- would tend to agree with him.

We also covered the breaking news out of Egypt, as President Mohammed Morsi was forced out of office in a military coup and Al Jazeera English was pulled off the air...live. We quickly discussed the outrageous secrecy of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), I had a few (more) very choice words for national embarrassment and professional hypocrite Justice Antonin Scalia, and Desi Doyen joined us, as usual, for the latest Green News Report and details on the next billion dollar natural disaster on its way...

Download MP3 or listen online below [appx 58 mins]...

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By Brad Friedman on 6/26/2013 9:14pm PT  

It was another news week from hell on today's KFPK/Pacifica Radio BradCast.

We covered today's Supreme Court rulings on Prop 8 and DOMA with Evan Wolfson, one of the architects of the national marriage equality strategy, from FreedomtoMarry.org.

I had a word or three to say about the Court gutting the Voting Rights Act this week.

I also offered a thought or two on NBC's David Gregory suggesting that journalist Glenn Greenwald "aided and abetted" NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, and on the jackassery of national embarrassment Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and the collapse of his pretend IRS "scandal". Desi Doyen joined me for the latest Green News Report update on President Obama's landmark climate speech this week.

And somehow we managed to fit in a few phone calls and a thought or two on Wendy Davis' stand in TX late last night and the state Republicans attempt to fraudulently pass a radical anti-abortion bill anyway. We got all of that into an incredibly fast moving single show, which follows for you below. Enjoy!

Download MP3 or listen online here [appx 58 mins]...

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Not first time there's been blatant fraud in the TX legislature...
By Brad Friedman on 6/26/2013 12:14am PT  

Extraordinary. Texas Republican legislators are now, officially, the champions of vote fraud.

After Democratic state Senator Wendy Davis' nearly 13 hour standing filibuster of SB5, a draconian abortion restriction bill supported by the state's Republican Gov. Rick Perry, Republicans decided to throw the rule of law out the window, and hold a roll call vote on the bill after midnight, when the special session was officially over, according to state law.

Nonetheless, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst fraudulently announced that the bill, which had supposedly passed at 12:01am, had actually passed at 11:59pm the night before, when the state Senate would still have been legally in session. Making matters even worse, the Republicans then went back and changed the official TX Senate web page to reflect their blatant fraud.

Here's a screenshot from the TX Senate webpage BEFORE the fraud...

...And here's a screenshot AFTER the Republicans' attempt to defraud the people of Texas...

Amazing. More here.

According to some quick research by James Carter IV, however, it looks as though TX legislators may be playing with a felony according to the state penal code in their apparent attempt to "knowingly make a false entry in, or false alteration of, a governmental record".

It's hardly the first time there's been massive vote fraud inside the Texas Statehouse, even as the Republicans there have been attempting, for years, to enact draconian polling place Photo ID restrictions for everyone else, under the fraudulent guise of combating "voter fraud". Take a look at the video below, which we originally ran in 2007, showing blatant voter fraud by members of the TX legislature...

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

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5-4 ruling by GOP Justices overrides Congress, Constitution, guts key provision of bi-partisan, 48-year old civil rights law...
By Brad Friedman on 6/25/2013 2:00pm PT  

In a remarkable display of judicial overreach, activism and legislating from the bench, the five Republican-appointed U.S. Supreme Court Justices, in a narrow 5-4 ruling today [PDF] have, in the words of dissenting Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, "demolished" the center-piece of the nation's beloved 48-year old Voting Rights Act, ignored the court's own repeated rulings, overridden a repeated and unambiguous mandate by the U.S. Congress (most recently, as led by two Republican chambers and signed by a Republican President), and made an absolute joke of the no-uncertain-terms directive of the U.S. Constitution's 15th Amendment.

In short, the nature of today's SCOTUS ruling, effectively gutting the central provision of what is arguably the most important Constitutionally-mandated and successful civil rights legislation in the nation's history, encompasses everything that the Republican Party has, in recent years, pretended to abhor when it comes to the judiciary --- everything, that is, but the partisan politics of its historic reach...

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

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Like 'ObamaCare', marriage equality may prevail at SCOTUS despite, rather than because of, Obama Administration's arguments...
By Ernest A. Canning on 3/30/2013 8:35am PT  

On paper, Donald B. Verrilli, Jr., who was appointed by President Barack Obama to replace now Supreme Court Justice Elana Kagan as the U.S. Solicitor General, appears to be an experienced litigator with a distinguished background.

It is a background that includes having served as a law clerk for former U.S. Supreme Court Justice William Brennan, Jr. and having participated in over 100 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. However, Verrilli's participation in Supreme Court oral arguments --- earlier with respect to the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or "ObamaCare") and, recently, in the challenge to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, as well as U.S. v. Windsor, with respect to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and in Hollingsworth v. Perry pertaining to California's Proposition 8 --- raises some disturbing questions.

Either Verrilli lacks the professional competence to assume primary responsibility for supervising and conducting litigation on behalf of the U.S. Government before the Supreme Court, or Verrilli, and the Obama administration, are so politically fearful of staking out principled positions that they have opted for a muddled middle ground. Perhaps it's a little of both.

Regardless, if the Windsor and Hollingsworth cases should establish a constitutional right of same-sex couples to marry, as urged by attorneys Ted Olson (R) and David Boies (D) in their Prop 8 Supreme Court brief [PDF], it will be despite the half-baked arguments presented by the Solicitor General, not because of them...

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

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Eugene Iredale discusses Juan Carlos Vera's settlement 'victory'; PLUS: Scalia's Voting Right Act hypocrisy and more...
By Brad Friedman on 3/13/2013 9:05pm PT  

Today on my KPFK/Pacifica Radio show --- after breaking the news about the newly elected Pope --- I interviewed Eugene Iredale, attorney of the former San Diego ACORN worker Juan Carlos Vera who received a $100,000 settlement from Rightwing con-artist James O'Keefe last week. (Vera also received $50,000 from O'Keefe's former partner Hannah Giles in a separate settlement last summer.)

Vera's California Invasion of Privacy Act lawsuit, filed in 2010, stemmed from O'Keefe and Giles' surreptitious wiretapping of a "confidential" conversation with Vera. The conversation (during which Vera played along to learn about the duo's pretend plot to smuggle underage prostitutes into the country, so he could turn them in to law enforcement) was then deceptively edited for misleading use in the infamous ACORN "pimp" hoax tapes published by Andrew Breitbart and blatantly misreported by New York Times, et al.

Iredale discussed O'Keefe's illegalities at the center of the suit; why other ACORN workers hadn't similarly sued the three con-artists; why Breitbart was not included in Vera's suit; why he didn't also sue for defamation; whether these settlements can be seen as a "victory"; and much more.

In the second part of today's BradCast, I offered my opinion ranted a bit on Justice Antonin Scalia's obnoxious, not-conservative, not-constitutionalist, activist attempt to legislate from the bench on the landmark Voting Rights Act during a recent Supreme Court hearing on the Act's important and ground-breaking Section 5 provision...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

P.S. I invited O'Keefe to join today's show to offer his side of the story (live and not deceptively edited), but last night he seems to have decided he didn't "have the guts" to show up.

* * *
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By Brad Friedman on 3/1/2013 6:05am PT  

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's obnoxious remark Wednesday about the Voting Rights Act as a "perpetuation of racial entitlement" wasn't the half of it.

Scalia is often held up by self-described "conservatives" as a model jurist, setting the standard for the type of "strict constructionism" or "originalist" interpretation of the Constitution that Republicans would like to see more of on the bench.

Jurists like Scalia, the pretend argument goes, are the antidote to those "liberal activist judges" who don't appreciate the limited authority of the judicial branch and who abuse their position in order to usurp the power of the executive and/or legislative branches by --- gasp! --- "legislating from the bench!"

Wednesday's shameful display by Scalia, however, during the Shelby v. Holder hearing at the U.S. Supreme Court, on whether or not Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) ought to be discontinued, should serve to put the bald hypocrisy of that entire Republican myth to bed for good. The Supreme Court Justice beloved by the hard right demonstrated exactly why that hard right loves him --- and it has nothing to do with "conservatism" or "judicial restraint" or "strict constructionism" or any of those other absurd partisan talking points bandied about in regard to Scalia...

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

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UPDATED with one, very small, ray of light...
[Now also UPDATED to include full transcript of hearing]
By Brad Friedman on 2/27/2013 10:58am PT  

Early word on what happened today during the U.S. Supreme Court's hearing on the crucial Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act in Shelby County, AL v. Eric Holder is not encouraging. This could come to be seen as a very dark day for voting rights in this country, as a landmark provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act may be on the verge of being dismantled and, arguably, a half a decade of civil rights advancements along with it.

Late last night we detailed what's at stake and how the activist Supremes are likely to intercede in what is clearly a Congressional duty, as specifically ascribed to them in the 15th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. That, despite a stunning 98 to 0 vote in the U.S. Senate to re-authorize the VRA for another 25 years as is, after 21 hearings and some 15,000 pages of documentation on the continuing blight of racial discrimination, as recently as 2006.

While it's always a perilous exercise to try and read the tea leaves from a SCOTUS hearing, The Nation's Ari Berman, who was present in the court room this morning, Tweets, disturbingly today: "In oral argument, Scalia likened Congressional support for Voting Rights Act to a 'perpetuation of racial entitlement'". He went on to indicate his "quick reaction" to the hearing was that, that while the five Republican Justices are "skeptical of Sec 5," there is a "small chance Kennedy can still be persuaded." He notes, that, incredibly, "Voter suppression attempts in [the] last election didn't even come up during SCOTUS arguments about Voting Rights Act".

Because the Supreme Court still operates in the 1800s, there was no live audio or video of today's hearing. The transcript, however, should be made available later today [Update: transcript is now linked at the bottom of this article] and audio will be made available on Friday.

For now, NBC reports today's hearings this way:

Central parts of an election law dating back to the civil rights struggles of the 1960s, the Voting Rights Act, appeared to be in jeopardy Wednesday after the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a challenge to them.

NBC’s Pete Williams reported after the oral argument, "I think it’s a safe prediction to say that the Voting Rights Act, as it now stands, is not going to survive. The question is: how far will the Supreme Court go in striking parts of it down?"

Williams said what seemed to concern a majority of the justices was "the fact that the law is too backward looking."
...
Williams reported that during the one hour-and-15 minute oral argument, Justice Anthony Kennedy said that the post-World War II Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe "was a good thing at one time, but times change."

New York Times' Adam Liptak described today's hearing in more, if similarly disturbing detail this way...

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

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'Shelby v. Holder', to be heard on Wednesday, could turn back decades of civil rights advancements...
[UPDATED at bottom with disturbing word out of today's hearing]
By Brad Friedman on 2/26/2013 8:51pm PT  

The first section of the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution, ratified in 1870 after the Civil War and the abolition of slavery, reads simply: "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude."

The second, and final section of the 15th Amendment, is even shorter: "The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation."

Congress is charged with determining the "appropriate legislation" to assure that voters are not discriminated against on the basis of race. And, though it took almost another 100 years after the ratification of the 15th Amendment to do so, the Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965 was passed to help ensure exactly that.

In 2006, in continuing its duty to uphold the Constitution, after 21 Congressional hearings, including testimony that amounted to some 15,000 pages of evidence, the VRA was re-authorized for another 25 years by an astounding 98 to 0 margin in the U.S. Senate and a nearly-as-impressive 390 to 33 in the U.S. House.

"There was a lot of invidious discrimination shown," says Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), who chaired the U.S. House Judiciary Committee at the time. He characterized the hearings, which closely examined the extent to which racial discrimination still affects minority voters, as "one of the most extensive considerations of any piece of legislation that the United States Congress has dealt with in the twenty-seven and a half years that I have [served]."

That year's VRA re-authorization was signed into law by Republican George W. Bush. The law's three other federal re-authorizations (in 1970, 1975 and 1982) were also signed into law by Republican Presidents.

One of the most successful, and universally respected pieces of bi-partisan legislation in our nation's history, however, is now coming under serious attack from Republicans and a group of billionaire funders in the years following its last re-authorization. Since that year, an unprecedented number of challenges against the VRA --- specifically its Section 5, which applies to some 16 different jurisdictions with a long history of racial discrimination --- have been filed in the court system, at the same time that a tidal wave of voter suppression laws have been passed by GOP legislatures across the country, most notably, in many of the jurisdictions covered by Section 5.

A challenge to that section of the VRA, which served to block a number of new restrictions on voting and voter registration during the run-up to the 2012 election, will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday, and the outlook for the crucial protections that Section 5 has offered for decades are now potentially in very grave danger of being struck down entirely...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 2/19/2013 10:41am PT  

I was on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture last night to discuss the latest proposed GOP scheme, this one out of Pennsylvania, to rig the Electoral College to their advantage...

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By Brad Friedman on 2/13/2013 9:56pm PT  

On today's KPFK/Pacifica Radio BradCast we covered the State of the Union Address last night, with extended focus on the President's call for election form and his new "Presidential Commission on Election Administration" [PDF], to be questionably co-chaired by Swift Boat GOP attorney Ben Ginsberg. As we noted yesterday, color us dubious about all of that.

My guest in the first half-hour was Marcia Johnson-Blanco, Co-Director of the Voting Rights Project at the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and we also discussed their recent report on "Our Broken Voting Systems And How to Repair It", as well as the upcoming February 27th U.S. Supreme Court hearing in Shelby County v. Holder, challenging the Constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act's Section 5 protection of jurisdictions with a history of discrimination at the voting booth.

Suffice to say, she was more optimistic about all of the above than I was.

In most of the second half of the show, we focused on the many environmental issues raised in Obama's State of the Union with the Green News Report's Desi Doyen. I'm not sure who was more (or less) optimistic in that half of the show.

Download MP3 or listen online below [appx 58 mins]...

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Please support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system, as available from no other media outlet in the nation --- now in our TENTH YEAR! --- with a donation to help us keep going (Snail mail, more options here). If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details right here...

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By Brad Friedman on 1/30/2013 7:05am PT  

Yesterday, a Virginia State Senate committee killed a GOP plan to completely revamp the state's "winner-take-all" electoral vote system despite a last minute change to the bill by its sponsor in hopes of making it more palatable. The original scheme would have awarded electoral votes by Congressional district instead of "winner-take-all". Had that plan been in place in 2012, Mitt Romney would have been awarded 9 electoral votes to Obama's 4, despite the President winning the popular vote in the state by some 150,000 votes and being awarded all 13 of the VA's electoral votes.

The bill's author, Republican Sen. Charles W. "Bill" Carrico, tweaked the bill at the last minute, so that electoral votes would be awarded proportionally, based on the popular vote, rather than by Congressional district. It didn't help. The scheme was defeated in committee by a bi-partisan vote of 11 to 4.

Before that scheme was killed in the VA Senate on Tuesday, I appeared on The David Pakman Show, via Skype, to discuss that and related issues, including the impending U.S. Supreme Court threat to the very important Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act...

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Please support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system, as available from no other media outlet in the nation, with a donation to help us keep going (Snail mail, more options here). If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details right here...

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