Daily Archives: January 12, 2018

Partisan gerrymandering cases headed to the U.S. Supreme Court

There has been a lot happening in partisan gerrymandering lawsuits lately, and luckily Rick Hasen at Elction Law Blog has put together a summary of where these cases stand today that will save me a lot of time. The State of Play on Partisan Gerrymandering Cases at the Supreme Court:

Back in 2004 the Supreme Court in Vieth v. Jublelirer split 4-1-4 over what to do about claims that partisan gerrymandering violates the U.S. Constitution. Four Justices said it was non-justiciable, four Justices said it was justiciable and raised a variety of challenges, and Justice Kennedy, in the middle, agreed with the Court’s liberals that the cases were justiciable, but agreed with the Court’s conservatives that the proposed standards didn’t work.  He essentially told everyone to keep working on the issue and come back, maybe looking at the First Amendment, maybe history, and maybe computers.  The cases at or coming to the Court seek to satisfy Justice Kennedy in various ways.

Here’s the state of play; the Supreme Court heard argument in October in Gill v. Whitford involving a challenge to state legislative districts in Wisconsin. Gill raises a partisan gerrymandering challenge under the Equal Protection Clause, and the McGhee/Stephanopoulos “efficiency gap” figured in (but was not the entire basis) for the analysis. Last month, the Court somewhat surprisingly also agreed to hear full argument in Beniske v. Lamone, a case challenging a Maryland congressional district as a partisan gerrymander under the First Amendment. I explained in this LA Times piece why the Court might have agreed to full argument in Benisek v. Lamone. Argument in the Maryland case will be later in the Spring.

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Grand opening of Thornhill Lopez Center on 4th for LGBTQ Youth



 “ The Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation (SAAF) is proud to announce the opening of Tucson’s newest youth center, the Thornhill Lopez Center on 4th. To mark the grand opening, SAAF invites the community and media representatives to attend a Ribbon Cutting and Open House on January 18, 2018 from 11:30-1pm at the Thornhill Lopez Center on 4th, 526 North 4th Avenue.

 The objective of the Thornhill Lopez Center on 4th is to serve youth through programming, direct client services, and community engagement, with a direct focus on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) youth. The central program of the Thornhill Lopez Center on 4th is Eon, a safe space for LGBTQ & allied youth. At Eon, youth can work on homework, access art programming through a collaborative with the Museum of Contemporary Art, participate in peer-to-peer education opportunities and harm-reduction, empowerment-driven programming. In addition to Eon, SAAF will collocate other youth programming at the Thornhill Lopez Center on 4th in order to best serve the community.

 The center is named after Curtis Thornhill, originally from southern Arizona. Mr. Thornhill said: “I am very excited to be part of a project giving youth, especially LGBTQ youth, a safe space in southern Arizona. The Thornhill Lopez Center on 4th will remind our whole community that our youth are loved and welcome.”

 SAAF’s Executive Director, Wendell Hicks, added: “SAAF has always been driven by transformative action. The Thornhill Lopez Center on 4th will change and save the lives of many, many youths and I couldn’t be prouder of that.” Adam Ragan, SAAF’s Associate Director of LGBTQ Initiatives noted: “What started a couple years ago as a dream of a few in the community is now a reality. Youth will have a safe space to access programs, education, art, and most importantly, each other. We know the power of peer-to-peer programming can really impact the lives of youth for years to come.”

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Rep. Martha McSally announces her bid for the Senate (Updated)

Southern Arizona’s media invention mythical moderate Republican, Rep. Martha McSally, who is really a wingnut hardliner who has embraced our nativist and racist President Donald Trump, voting in support of his agenda 96.7% of the time, announced today that she is running for the Senate seat being vacated by Senator Jeff Flake.

Good riddance from your constituents here in CD 2, Martha, and here’s looking forward to your being unemployed come November (don’t worry, the congresswoman from Raytheon no doubt already has a job waiting for her in the military-industrial-congressional complex).

The Hill reports, McSally announces bid for Arizona Senate seat:

Arizona Rep. Martha McSally (R) has officially announced her bid for Senate, a long-awaited announcement that caps a busy week in the race to replace retiring Sen. Jeff Flake (R).

McSally formally announced her bid Friday morning in a tour across the state, but her campaign tipped its hand by releasing a video hours before.

Screen Shot 2018-01-12 at 11.26.13 AM

The spot leans heavily on her experience as the first female combat fighter pilot and portrays her as an ally of President Trump.

Her blunt talk in the video shows a push to connect to Republicans across the spectrum, an important challenge for McSally considering she will be facing off in the GOP primary against two controversial candidates in former Sheriff Joe Arpaio and former state Sen. Kelli Ward.

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Racist Trump blows up DACA deal: a ‘bipartisan agreement died yesterday’

Our always insecure egomaniacal man-child Twitter-troll-in-chief made a vague attempt today to deny his racist comments to a group of senators negotiating a DACA deal on Thursday, Trump attacks protections for immigrants from ‘shithole’ countries in Oval Office meeting:

President Trump grew frustrated with lawmakers Thursday in the Oval Office when they floated restoring protections for immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries as part of a bipartisan immigration deal, according to two people briefed on the meeting.

“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump said, according to these people, referring to African countries and Haiti. He then suggested that the United States should instead bring more people from countries like Norway [i.e., white Europeans], whose prime minister he met Wednesday.

Our Twitter-troll-in-chief Trump acknowledged ‘tough’ language but appeared to deny ‘shithole’ remark:

President Trump acknowledged Friday that he used “tough” language during a meeting on efforts toward a bipartisan immigration deal but appeared to deny using the term “shithole” to refer to some countries.

“The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used. What was really tough was the outlandish [bipartisan] proposal made — a big setback for DACA!” Trump wrote on Twitter. (More on this below the fold).

Spokespeople for the White House did not immediately respond to a request for clarification Friday. The White House had not denied Thursday that Trump used the vulgarity, first reported by The Washington Post and later confirmed by numerous other news outlets.

Our Twitter-troll-in-chief is also a pathological liar, which is well documented. President Trump has made more than 2,000 false or misleading claims over 355 days. You can add his latest tweet to this list.

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Past, present and future tribulations

When the Gadsden Purchase was completed in 1854, Mexico received $10 million from the United States for the 29,670 square miles of territory, south of Gila River, which the U.S. government added to the New Mexico Territory. At the time, the only military presence in the vast purchase area was the Mexican force stationed at the Tucson presidio. In November 1856, four companies of U.S. dragoons arrived with orders to establish a garrison in the vicinity of Tucson. After scouting the area, they established Fort Buchanan, named for the new president, at the headwaters of Sonoita Creek on the eastern side of the Santa Rita Mountains.

As the troops stationed at Ft. Buchanan chased down outlaws, tried to counter Apache raids and provided protection for the Butterfield stage line, the national political consensus was unraveling due to sectional quarrels over the issues of states’ rights and slavery. Regrettably, President Buchanan and the other national politicians of the day failed to find a peaceful resolution to the sectional crisis. After President Lincoln took office, hostilities erupted in South Carolina in April 1861. As a result, Fort Buchanan was abandoned in July 1861, its troops transferred to places more vital to the war effort. Fortunately for the fragmenting United States, the European powers decided to stay mostly on the sidelines. In America, the Lincoln administration fought a bloody Civil War as slavery and its attendant issues were settled by four years of warfare.

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Arizona House Dems Drop 2018 ERA Bill

ERA in Arizona House

Arizona House representatives dropped the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) into the hopper on January 11, 2018.

In 2017, the Equal Rights Amendment was introduced in eight states, debated in three, and ratified in one– Nevada. The Arizona Legislature was one of the bodies that debated the ERA. (Watch the video.) I have vowed to introduce the ERA every year until it is ratified by the states. Only two more states are needed. This could be the year the ERA is finally sent back to Congress to become an amendment to the US Constitution.

On Thursday, January 11, 2018, I dropped the ERA– with the help of some of my Democratic sisters. All of the House Democrats signed the bill. I stopped asking Republicans to sign the ERA, when I confirmed that Republican Rep. Michelle Ugenti-Rita also has introduced the ERA this year.  Ugenti-Rita and Rep. Heather Carter were the only two Republicans who voted to hear the ERA in 2017 (rather than shutting down debate, as the Republican leadership wanted to do.)

You’ll remember that in 2017 the Democrats forced the ERA debate by using parliamentary procedures. We did this because Rep. Eddie Farnsworth, chair of the Judiciary Committee, refused to hear it in committee. (Committee chairs often kill bills with this parliamentary procedure.)

In 2018, the ERA is coming in the front door of the Arizona Legislature.

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