#StopFastTrack Nationwide #TPP Call-in Day on June 3 (video)

tpp democracyActivists around the globe are fighting the secret corporate takeover “free” trade deal know as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The fast track authority for the TPP is being heard in Congress now. Republicans and President Barack “Wall Street” Obama want the TPP fast track authority to pass. (Fast track authority allows presidents to negotiate trade deals without all of those messy Congressional debates and any of that unpredictable public input. This is how we got NAFTA and multiple other “free” trade deals that have hurt American workers.)
Progressives and most Democrats in Congress are against the TPP and fast track authority– mostly because it is a SECRET deal negotiated by 600 corporations and what we do know about it is bad for middle class Americans. (Only selected sections of the TPP have been released by WikiLeaks. Obama has been keeping the rest a secret. Why?!)
Recently the Arizona Daily Star reported that Congressional phone calls on the TPP are running 25 to 1 against it. To keep up the pressure, a national day of Congressional phone calls has been planned for June 3. Below are the details from the Citizens Trade Campaign. #StopFastTrack #FlushTheTPP

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Richard Hasen: conservative challenges to election laws undermines federalism

Election law attorney Richard Hasen has written this piece at Slate, Only Voters Count? – Conservatives ask the Supreme Court to restrict states’ rights and overturn precedent:

For the second time in a year, the Supreme Court has agreed to wade into an election case at the urging of conservatives. In both cases it has done so despite the issue appearing to be settled by long-standing precedent.

Voting-RightsIn a case expected to be decided next month, Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission,conservatives asked the court to bar states from using independent redistricting commissions to draw congressional lines.

In a case the court agreed to hear Tuesday, Evenwel v. Abbott, conservatives asked the court to require states to draw their legislative district lines in a particular way: Rather than considering the total population in each district, conservatives argue, the lines should instead divide districts according to the number of people registered or eligible to vote. Most states use total population for drawing districts, which includes noncitizens, children, felons, and others ineligible to vote.

In both Supreme Court cases, there is great irony in the fact that they are being brought by conservatives, who usually claim to respect precedents and states’ rights. The challengers are not only asking the court to revisit issues that seemed to be settled by decades-old precedent. If successful, these cases will undermine federalism by limiting states’ rights to design their own political systems.

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Obama administration will not appeal from Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals

In somewhat of a surprise, the New York Times reports that President Obama Won’t Take Immigration Case to Supreme Court Yet:

ImmigrantsIn a statement on Wednesday, officials from the Justice Department said they would not ask the Supreme Court to reverse this week’s decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit that continues to block the president’s immigration actions.

The statement said the department was committed to defending the president’s actions and getting the immigration programs in place with certainty.

“The department believes the best way to achieve this goal is to focus on the ongoing appeal on the merits of the preliminary injunction itself,” said Patrick Rodenbush, a spokesman for the Justice Department. “Although the department continues to disagree with the Fifth Circuit’s refusal to stay the district court’s preliminary injunction, the department has determined that it will not seek a stay from the Supreme Court.”

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The right is contemptuous of American democracy

SupremeCourtI posted yesterday about the U.S. Supreme Court agreeing to hear the appeal  of Evenwel v. Abbott which will be heard and decided next Term. The Court will define the meaning of “one-person, one-vote,” based upon a radical theory put forward by the right-wing Project on Fair Representation.

Ed Kilgore at the Political Animal blog and Paul Waldman at the Washington Post’s Plum Line noticed the similarities between the radical theory of the Project for Fair Representation and the radical theory of the Libertarian lawyers pursuing the King v. Burwell case.

I also noticed these similarities. In fact, it is part of a conservative legal strategy to use the courts to undo much of the progress of the 20th Century. This strategy has been pursued for a number of years, but was recently crystalized in the latest book from Charles Murray, “By the People: Rebuilding Liberty Without Permission,” that has the right-wing all in a lather. (More on this below).

Ed Kilgore writes, Here’s How Republicans Could Repel Latinos Even More!

We talked briefly yesterday about SCOTUS accepting a challenge to the traditional understanding of “one person one vote” in a case from Texas. This is turning out to be even a bigger deal than I initially expected, particularly among Latino groups who see it as a direct threat to their political representation in both Washington and in state capitals.

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New York Times is the latest to expose the fraud of King v. Burwell

ObamacareThe New York Times is the latest to make an in-depth investigation into the claims in King v. Burwell, the Libertarian lawyers’ challenge to the Affordable Care Act aka “ObamaCare” health insurance subsidies provisions, and to dismiss the claims as a concocted fraud. Four Words That Imperil Health Care Law Were All a Mistake, Writers Now Say.

A couple of quick points. First, this is the type of drafting error that is routinely corrected by legislative bodies through “technical amendments” to correct statutory language. It would take a one page bill to correct “four words” that Congress could quite literally pass in a few hours if we had a responsible Congress. It is not something that one takes to court — all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court no less — spending millions of dollars on litigating a drafting error. This exposes the “evil motive and intent” of the Libertarian lawyers pursuing this case. The claim is not brought in good faith.

Second, the Libertarian lawyers’ radical theory of statutory construction, based upon their fabricated record of congressional intent in this case, would radically alter the long-established rules of statutory construction if accepted as a general principle by the U.S. Supreme Court. It would literally call into question thousands of federal court precedents based upon existing rules of statutory construction.

The Court could limit its holding to this one case, as it did in Bush v. Gore, but that would undermine the credibility of this Court even further in my view. It would expose the “Felonious Five” as politicians engaged in extra-constitutional legislating from the bench, something  already far too self-evident in the decisions of the Roberts Court.

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Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals leaves stay of Obama immigration executive orders in place

ImmigrantsAs discussed in previous posts, the judges comprising the three judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals left little doubt that they would uphold the order of stay from U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen, blocking implementation of President Obama’s executive orders on immigration.

The next step is a petition for rehearing en banc before the full Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, a motion disfavored in the appellate courts, and/or an appeal directly to the U.S. Supreme Court. That would be my guess.

Keep in mind that this appeal involves only the order of stay pending a trial on the merits. There has been no decsision on the merits.

Lyle Denniston of SCOTUSblog reports, Appeals court keeps immigration policy on hold:

In a decision that seems likely to be challenged in the Supreme Court, a divided federal appeals court refused on Tuesday (.pdf) to permit the Obama administration to put into effect its new policy to temporarily spare more than four million undocumented immigrants from being deported.   The government, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled, has not made a case for going forward while the legality of the program is under review in the courts.

The two-to-one decision, leaving in place a federal judge’s nationwide order that forbids for the time being the enforcement of the policy announced last November, did not settle the legality of the program.  That is a question that will come up later, with a hearing on it scheduled in the Fifth Circuit for the first week in July.  Even so, the administration is free in the meantime to ask the Supreme Court to step in on the near-term status of the deferred deportation policy.

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