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Latest Featured Reports | Monday, November 30, 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...

Impeachment of now-resigned jurist recommended; Report contradicts prior, unreported claims made by Fuller's attorney to The BRAD BLOG
Gov. Don Siegelman (D-AL), sentenced by corrupt, disgraced, abusive judge who failed to recuse, remains in federal prison as Fuller roams free...
By Brad Friedman on 9/21/2015 12:37pm PT  

"Impeachment of former United States District Judge Mark E. Fuller [Middle District, Alabama] may be warranted," according to the Special Committee to the Judicial Council of the U.S. 11th Circuit Court.

While Fuller has already resigned from his lifetime appointment in the wake of his wife-beating scandal, the panel of federal judges found "the severity of the misconduct" by the former jurist so "reprehensible", they believe impeachment may be appropriate nonetheless.

"In the event that the House of Representatives determines in its sound discretion that impeachment is not warranted, this certification may also serve as a public censure of Judge Fuller's reprehensible conduct, which has no doubt brought disrepute to the Judiciary and cannot constitute the 'good behavior' required of a federal judge," U.S. Judicial Conference Secretary James C. Duff wrote in his letter [PDF] to U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, accompanying the final report of the Special Committee.

As the panel of federal judges tasked by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court with investigating the 2014 arrest of Alabama's U.S. District Court Judge Mark Fuller on spousal abuse charges proceeded over the past year, his Birmingham attorney, Barry Ragsdale, was adamant about his client's innocence.

Fuller "never hit, punched, slapped or kicked," his wife Kelli on the night he was hauled away by police from the Ritz-Carlton in Atlanta following her chilling call to 911, Ragsdale repeated over and over to any media outlet which would listen.

Judge Fuller made similar "repeated statements under oath before the Special Committee," according to Duff. The Committee found those assertions to be "false."

As we suspected over the past year --- and as both 911 evidence and evidence from the divorce proceedings in Judge Fuller's previous marriage suggested as well --- Ragsdale's assertions on behalf of his client were completely untrue. At least according to the final report issued by that panel of judicial investigators last week.

In an email exchange with The BRAD BLOG earlier this year, Ragsdale even went so far as to describe our detailed coverage of the Fuller affair [see complete index below] as "sensationalized and misleading". He suggested that Fuller's second wife Kelli --- who, during that chilling call to 911, tearily begged for an ambulance, as apparent sounds of battering could be heard through the phone --- had made the entire thing up. Ragsdale claimed she admitted as much under oath during the probe by the judges impaneled to investigate the matter.

"Your blog entries on this case suffer from the very glaring misapprehension that Kelli Fuller was telling the truth when she claimed that Judge Fuller was 'beating on me' to the 911 dispatcher," Ragsdale told The BRAD BLOG via email last March. "The only thing that is clear from the 911 call is that Kelli Fuller was drunk when she made the call."

The Birhimgham attorney asserted that he had "a very decided advantage" over us "when discussing the facts of this matter," due to the fact that he had heard "the sworn testimony of all of the witnesses with knowledge about this case, and I have examined and cross-examined them under oath."

"The truth," Ragsdale continued in one part of his email that we declined to report publicly at the time, "is that even Kelli Fuller has admitted under oath that the 'slap' sounds that you think you hear on the 911 tape were not caused by Judge Fuller hitting her. Instead, Kelli Fuller has admitted under oath that the brief physical altercation between her and Judge Fuller was over before she ever called 911."

He claimed that it was Kelli Fuller who, in fact, "assault[ed]" and "attack[ed]" the judge, who was otherwise lying on the bed, minding his own business while watching TV.

Ragsdale's description of events at the Ritz-Carlton that night appear to be in stark contradiction to the report submitted by the panel of federal judges. They assert that Judge Fuller's behavior towards his wife was far worse than we had reported and included "at least" eight different instances of spousal abuse between Fuller and his second wife Kelli, "both before and after they were married, which included and culminated in the assault that took place on August 9, 2014, in the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in downtown Atlanta, George," according to Duff's description of the Judicial Conference report.

While we reported some of Ragsdale's comments at the time, we declined to report both his characterization of Kelli Fuller's sworn testimony before the panel of judges, as well as his characterization of the sworn testimony by Fuller's first wife Lisa. In both cases, the testimony had been confidential at the time and it was impossible for us to verify what had or hadn't been said. We had only Ragsdale's word for it. Moreover, as his previous public assertions were often in apparent contradiction from known evidence --- and he was unwilling or unable to offer evidence to back up his assertions about the sworn, confidential testimony and other supposed evidence that he claimed to have access to --- it seemed irresponsible to uncritically publish hearsay and unverifiable claims that he was clearly offering us in hopes of exonerating his own client in the "court of public opinion".

The 11th Circuit Court's Judicial Council report, forwarded to the U.S. Judiciary Council and then to the U.S. House of Representatives last week, as AP notes, paints a very different picture of that probe, declaring that, in fact, Judge Fuller was a serial domestic abuser, whose conduct was nothing short of "reprehensible"...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 9/11/2015 5:52pm PT  

Seriously. To hell with false balance.

On today's BradCast: a ton of news on Election 2016 --- from the horse race (as ridiculous as it's become) to the horrible track conditions on which the horses will be running, as Americans try to vote and have their vote counted, counted accurately and in a way that they can know it's been counted accurately.

Meanwhile, the media, particularly the New York Times continue to confuse repeating with reporting on both voter suppression and climate change --- and they actually appear to be getting worse, not better. So, Desi Doyen joins us to debunk the latest global warming denial nonsense from GOPers Trump, Fiorina and, yes, Palin with none of the Times' 'he said, she said' false balance.

And finally, we finish with some thoughts very much worth pondering from Tom Engelhardt of TomDispatch and The Nation on this 14th anniversary of 9/11.

That's a very short description for a very busy, news-packed show today. Enjoy!...

Download MP3 or listen to the complete show online below...

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As 11th Circuit recommends potential removal by Congress, U.S. District Court judge resigns 10 months after arrest on battery charges, continues to receive tens of thousands from taxpayers...
By Brad Friedman on 6/1/2015 2:32pm PT  

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

Over the weekend, the news broke that U.S. District Court Judge Mark E. Fuller (Middle District of Alabama), who was arrested almost one year ago after allegedly beating his wife bloody in an Atlanta hotel room, has finally submitted his resignation from the federal bench to President Obama. Previously, through his attorneys, Fuller had strenuously refused to step down, declared his innocence, and insisted that a 5-judge Special Committee convened by the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to investigate the matter would eventually clear him of wrongdoing.

It appears instead that the panel has found "grounds for impeachment" instead. That finding has been "unanimously adopted" by the Circuit's full Judicial Council which is sending its report and recommendations to the U.S. Judicial Conference. That body, in turn, may then decide whether to recommend the U.S. Congress take up such rare proceedings. Without a federal judge voluntarily stepping down, impeachment by Congress is the only way to remove a sitting federal appointee to the bench.

Fuller, who would not otherwise be eligible to draw retirement pension for another three years, will continue to draw a salary from taxpayers for two more months --- just as he has for the last 10 months --- despite having had his caseload reassigned to other judges in the immediate aftermath of his arrest a the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Atlanta in early August of 2014.

"Justice was not served here," said Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL) in a statement over the weekend in response to the news of Fuller's resignation. Alabama's only Democratic Congressmember had long been calling for impeachment proceedings.

"Fuller failed to uphold our most fundamental values," she said. "Perhaps the only consolation is that he has chosen to spare his family and our nation of the expense of a drawn out impeachment process." The rest of the state's Congressional contingent, including its two Republican U.S. Senators who had originally supported Fuller's appointment in 2002, had also called for him to step down. Many offered statements approving of his decision over the weekend to finally step down.

Despite the tendered resignation, however, impeachment proceedings could still legally be carried out in the U.S. House, though the likelihood of that may now somewhat diminished.

We have covered Fuller, who was appointed to his lifetime position on the court in 2002 by George W. Bush, in great detail since news of his arrest became public. (See links to many of our noteworthy articles in the saga at the bottom of this piece.) Prior to his arrest, Fuller was perhaps best known for having sentenced Alabama's former Gov. Don Siegelman (D) to some seven years in federal prison on questionable "bribery" related charges. That, despite the Judge's own long-apparent conflicts of interest in the case. Before being named to the court, Fuller served as a political operative as the head of the Alabama GOP and his office, when he served as a state prosecutor, had been investigated and criticized for improprieties by the former Governor long before Fuller oversaw Siegelman's trial...

Following his arrest, Fuller was able to strike a plea deal for a pretrial diversion program with the state court in Georgia in order to have his criminal record entirely expunged after just 24 weeks of once-a-week domestic abuse counseling and a court-ordered drug and alcohol evaluation. He was offered the deal by the judge on the premise that the incident at the Ritz-Carlton in Atlanta --- when his wife called 911 in tears, asking for help and claiming that "he's beating on me!" --- was his first infraction. Records from his messy divorce in 2012, however, suggest that there were very similar incidents of physical abuse, as well as drug and alchohol abuse, involving his first wife and their children during the first marriage.

"We sent the wrong message to victims of domestic violence by allowing a federal judge to collect a paycheck --- without managing a caseload --- and ultimately having his record expunged," said Sewell over the weekend...

Judge Fuller's first wife, Lisa Boyd Fuller, had accused Judge Fuller of having an affair with his then court bailiff, Kelli Gregg who he would marry shortly after his divorce from Lisa was finalized. The records from those proceedings were sealed over her "strenous objections". During the incident at the Ritz-Carlton hotel last year, Kelli accused her husband of having an affair with a court clerk.

Though Fuller's two-sentence resignation letter delivered to the President stated that "It has been an honor and privilege to serve," it's likely that the timing of his decision was meant in hopes of avoiding the embarrassment of impeachment by Congress...

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

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Criminal charges dismissed as expected; More testimony heard by 11th Circuit panel; Senate seeks update; Calls for impeachment persist...
By Brad Friedman on 4/20/2015 8:31pm PT  

There were several small, but somewhat noteworthy updates over the past week in the continuing saga of federal Judge Mark Fuller (U.S. District Court, Alabama's Middle District) which we've been covering in great detail here since his arrest last August on charges of beating his wife in an Atlanta hotel room last summer. (See links to our long series of coverage at end of this article.)

First, as expected, following the plea deal Fuller struck with the Georgia state court allowing him to avoid trial by attending 24 one-hour-a-week domestic violence counseling sessions and a court supervised drug and alcohol evaluation, all criminal charges have now official been dropped against him and his criminal record is now officially expunged. As we explained in this short video which includes a portion of the chilling 911 call made by his wife Kelli from the Ritz-Carlton hotel on the night of his arrest, as far as the official record is concerned, this incident now "never even happened"...

Though the official criminal charges against him "no longer exist", Fuller --- who maintains his innocence in the matter, as detailed to The BRAD BLOG by his attorney recently --- may still be impeached by Congress. Indeed, impeachment is now the only way Fuller will face real accountability or be removed from his lifetime appointment to the federal bench.

"There should never have been an agreement to expunge his record, nor should he be allowed to remain on the federal bench," says Congresswoman Terri Sewell (D-AL), who continued her call for Fuller's impeachment last week. She said she was "deeply disturbed" that charges were dismissed, and continued her persistent calls for impeachment proceedings to be taken up by Congress...

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

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Barry Ragsdale says audible smacks likely 'attempt by Kelli Fuller to imitate sounds of slapping'; Says she was 'drunk', 'hysterical'...
By Brad Friedman on 3/30/2015 6:02am PT  

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

The Birmingham attorney for U.S. District Court Judge Mark Fuller says that, despite 911 audio which seems to suggest otherwise, his client "never hit, punched, slapped or kicked" his wife Kelli in an Atlanta hotel room last year. The federal judge was simply defending himself from the "hysterical" rage of his wife who, the attorney now tells The BRAD BLOG, blatantly lied to police about the entire incident before his client was subsequently arrested on charges of domestic battery.

Moreover, Barry Ragsdale tells us, Kelli Fuller was "drunk" when she called 911. He says "slap" sounds heard clearly on the audio tape as she told the 911 dispatcher she was being beaten and needed an ambulance were either an attempt by Judge Fuller's wife to "imitate the sounds of slapping" or just "random background noises produced by someone who was intoxicated and hysterical."

In several emails sent to The BRAD BLOG in recent days, Ragsdale provided the most detailed public defense yet of his client, a lifetime appointee to the federal bench in Alabama's Middle District.

Ragsdale was responding to our queries after we exclusively published the complete 911 call from the domestic violence incident that occurred last August. The audio, obtained from the Atlanta Police Department, appears to contradict remarks given by Ragsdale to reporter Timothy M. Phelps of the Los Angeles Times earlier this month, in which the attorney claimed that, despite the arrest and a police report describing Kelli Fuller's "visible lacerations to her mouth and forehead" and other signs of abuse when officials arrived on the scene, it was actually Judge Fuller, not his second wife Kelli, who was the victim of a physical attack in their Ritz-Carlton hotel room in August of 2014...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Round-up of reported election failures, so far, in CT, NC, GA, TX, AL...
By Brad Friedman on 11/4/2014 3:58pm PT  

Zach Roth and Trymaine Lee of MSNBC highlight a number of the problems at the polls being reported so far in various states today.

"Voters in Connecticut, North Carolina, Georgia, Texas, Alabama and other states all encountered potentially serious problems casting ballots as Americans went to the polls Tuesday," they report. "The issues included malfunctioning machines that caused long lines, problems with statewide voter registration systems, missing voter lists, and delays processing voter registration applications. Meanwhile, voter ID laws and other strict voting measures kept others from even attempting to make it to the polls."

Here are the key portions of their problem reports from each of those states...

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

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50k 'missing' registrations in GA; Millions of voters threatened by GOP database scheme; That 'non-citizen' voter 'study' at WaPo...
By Brad Friedman on 10/30/2014 9:04pm PT  

The pace of GOP voter suppression stories and scams is now cascading in faster than we're able to fully check out or report in detail. So, for now, here are a few very important stories that are likely to become even more relevant in the coming days, even as we've only time for quick coverage here at the moment...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 10/30/2014 9:35am PT  

The Politicus USA headline typified MSM coverage of what Brad Friedman often refers to as the "horse race" --- "Democrats Surge As Michelle Nunn Leads Georgia Senate Race In Third Straight Poll."

For The BRAD BLOG, and for a good many election integrity advocates and computer scientists, that narrow focus ignores "the track conditions," which, in Georgia entails the continued use of touchscreen voting systems courtesy of a 2009 determination by the Georgia Supreme Court that "unverifiable elections are just fine."

Where horse race coverage focuses exclusively on the here and now, this site feels it helpful to look back a dozen years to what took place in Georgia shortly after Democratic Secretary of State Cathy Cox signed a May 2002 contract with what was then known as Diebold Election Systems Inc....

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And this one...

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

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

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

Now go read Posner's dissent...

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Sunday voting is 'partisan', a 'way just to wring out every last vote'...
By Brad Friedman on 9/28/2014 8:35am PT  

Remember that Republican state Senator from Georgia who recently objected to early voting on the Sunday before the election in DeKalb County because, as he was caught saying in email, it was an area "dominated by African American shoppers and it is near several large African American mega churches"?

Sen. Fran Millar vowed at the time to "eliminate" that Sunday voting, which he described as "an election law loophole". He then doubled-down, after the media picked up on it, by saying that he actually wasn't against all of those black people voting, it was just that he "would prefer more educated voters than a greater increase in the number of voters."

Well, now the same type of vote suppression jackassery has spread over to Bibb County, Georgia, where, as in the rest of the state, changing demographics continue to squeeze white Republicans and their longtime political hold. Can't have that. So now, Republican members of the county election board have knocked down a proposal for Sunday voting, because, as Zaid Jilani described it at Alternet, it "would mean".

The Macon-Bibb County Commissioners had already approved the $3,000 it would cost to have the extra day of voting, but the proposal was defeated 3 to 2 this week nonetheless, with the Election Board's Dems both voting in favor. According to WMAZ, here's how one GOP member of the boared explained it [emphasis added]:

Rinda Wilson, a Republican, called it "a partisan thing" backed by Democrats: "There have been six states that have been targeted, Georgia being one of them, that this would be a way just to wring out every last vote."

Well, we'd hate for "every last vote" to be cast in a democracy. That'd be "a partisan thing"! Glad to see the Bibb County Election Board is there to keep that from happening!

Jim Crow rising --- and smiling --- in The South.

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Vows to close 'election loophole' allowing early voting in DeKalb
UPDATE: Millar doubles down, clarifies he just wants 'more educated voters'...
By Brad Friedman on 9/9/2014 11:56am PT  

Just another reminder for those of you who have been stooged into believing that Republican attempts to restrict Early Voting (or any voting, for that matter) has anything to do with anything other than keeping Democratic-leaning voters from being able to conveniently participate in their own democracy...

A Republican state senator in Georgia has vowed to end Sunday balloting in DeKalb County due to the fact that the area is "dominated by African American shoppers and it is near several large African American mega churches."
"Now we are to have Sunday voting at South DeKalb Mall just prior to the election," [State Sen. Fran] Millar wrote in the email. ... "I’m sure [Democratic candidates] Michelle Nunn and Jason Carter are delighted with this blatantly partisan move in DeKalb."

Millar's vow comes in response to news that DeKalb plans to reserve Oct. 26 for early voting. He ends the email saying he's spoken with other lawmakers.

"I have spoken with Representative Jacobs and we will try to eliminate this election law loophole in January..."

"Election law loophole" = voting opportunity. For black people. Gotta close that "loophole".

You'll note Millar doesn't call, in response to the addition of early voting in DeKalb, for more voting opportunities in districts he believes would be favorable to Republican voters. His response, instead, is to suppress the vote of perceived political opponents. Period.

Sadly, but factually, that's what the Republican Party now amounts to. Maybe someone can try and let the the New York Times know.

* * *

UPDATE 9/10/2014: In response to criticism over his comments, Millarclarifies keeps digging and doubles down, by responding:

I would prefer more educated voters than a greater increase in the number of voters. If you don't believe this is an efort [sic] to maximize Democratic votes pure and simple, then you are not a realist. This is a partisan stunt and I hope it can be stopped.

For the record, Fullar and his voters --- the white ones that he is happy to see vote --- are more than likely Fox "News" viewers, the most misinformed news consumers in the nation, according to poll after poll...

World Public Opinion, a project managed by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland, conducted a survey of American voters that shows that Fox News viewers are significantly more misinformed than consumers of news from other sources. What’s more, the study shows that greater exposure to Fox News increases misinformation.

So the more you watch, the less you know. Or to be precise, the more you think you know that is actually false. This study corroborates a previous PIPA study that focused on the Iraq war with similar results. And there was an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll that demonstrated the break with reality on the part of Fox viewers with regard to health care.

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By Brad Friedman on 8/29/2014 11:44am PT  

This is heartbreaking. A 20-year old gay college student from Kennesaw, Georgia is confronted, assaulted and disowned by his own twisted, confused, cruel family, as captured on video...

The video went viral after it was published by Dan Savage on Wednesday.

Despite the incredibly disturbing video, in which Daniel Ashley Pierce's father, stepmother, mother and grandparents confront him --- at times violently --- to go get therapy so he'll stop being gay, or else move out of the house, there is a "happy" ending here, of a sort.

Pierce's boyfriend set up a Go Fund Me site for him yesterday to raise $2,000 for him to live on, after being kicked out of the house and trying to find a new place to live.

By this morning, the video has been viewed nearly 2.5 million times, and the Go Fund Me site, which Pierce said he didn't even know had been created, has raised some $66,500 for him. Thirty minutes ago he posted this updated note to supporters there:

WOW!! I am so blessed by all of this! I want to give everyone of y'all a hug! I am without words right now! THANK YOU THANK YOU! I will be using a portion of this money to help others in the same situation! I want to make a difference and if I can save one kid the hurt and abuse that I went through I will be happy!! Each and everyone of y'all have made a huge impact on my life and I am feeling the love!! The kind words are helping me move on :-)

As clueless, sad, twisted folks like Pierce's family members wanted Daniel to seek (cruel and discredited) "Pray the Gay Away" therapy, perhaps it's time someone sets up a "Pray the Hate Away" movement. We could really use one right about now.

[Hat-tip RAW STORY...]

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 1/30/2014 4:08pm PT  


IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Obama's State of the Union goes big for fracking... but Big Green says it's a bridge to nowhere; Big Fossil Fuel has a new mega-astroturf group; Extreme weather paralyzes Atlanta on behalf of Big Business; PLUS: NSA spied on UN climate talks, according to new Snowden docs ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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


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

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): WV water tests positive for formaldehyde; Shell won't drill offshore in Arctic this year; Shell ordered to pay $11b oil spill fine to Nigeria; Monarch butterflies in steep decline; Climate hawk Rep. Henry Waxman to retire; Great Lakes drying up; New conflicts of interest in Keystone XL environment review; Climate change killing baby penguins; ... PLUS: One Vid to Rule Them All: “If There’s Global Warming, How Come it’s So Cold?” ... and much, MUCH more! ...

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

ReddIt this story!

By Brad Friedman on 11/2/2013 8:05am PT  

Really. And kudos to Daily Show correspondent Al Madrigal...

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