The U.S. Supreme Court began the day with 19 argued cases yet to be decided. This included two of the most highly anticipated cases of this term involving political gerrymandering, Gil v. Whitford (Wisconsin) and Benisek v. Lamone (Maryland).
Today the U.S. Supreme Court disappointed everyone by punting on these two cases. It was an anticlimactic end to these gerrymandering cases, which are likely to return in the future with additional cases moving through the appellate courts pipeline.
In Gil v. Whitford (.pdf) Chief Justice Roberts held that “The plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate Article III standing.”
The right to vote is “individual and personal in nature,” Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U. S. 533, 561, and “voters who allege facts showing disad- vantage to themselves as individuals have standing to sue” to remedy that disadvantage, Baker, 369 U. S., at 206. The plaintiffs here al- leged that they suffered such injury from partisan gerrymandering, which works through the “cracking” and “packing” of voters. To the extent that the plaintiffs’ alleged harm is the dilution of their votes, that injury is district specific. An individual voter in Wisconsin is placed in a single district. He votes for a single representative. The boundaries of the district, and the composition of its voters, deter- mine whether and to what extent a particular voter is packed or cracked. A plaintiff who complains of gerrymandering, but who does not live in a gerrymandered district, “assert[s] only a generalized grievance against governmental conduct of which he or she does not approve.” United States v. Hays, 515 U. S. 737, 745.
Posted in AZBlueMeanie, Congress, Constitution, Courts, Election Integrity, Elections, Ethics, Party Politics, Redistricting
Tagged discrimination, First Amendment, gerrymandering, voter disenfranchisement, voting rights
Permanent musical accompaniment: I Fought The Law (And The Law Won), by the Bobby Fuller Four (1966).
The Special Counsel and U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson sent President Trump a clear message today: tamper with witnesses, and you will be going to jail; you can share a cell with your former campaign manager. Paul Manafort ordered to jail after witness-tampering charges:
A federal judge ordered Paul Manafort to jail Friday over charges he tampered with witnesses while out on bail — a major blow for President Trump’s former campaign chairman as he awaits trial on federal conspiracy and money-laundering charges next month.
“You have abused the trust placed in you six months ago,” U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson told Manafort. “The government motion will be granted, and the defendant will be detained.”
The judge said sending Manafort to a cell was “an extraordinarily difficult decision” but said his conduct — allegedly contacting witnesses in the case in an effort to get them to lie to investigators — left her little choice.
“This is not middle school. I can’t take away his cellphone,” she said. “If I tell him not to call 56 witnesses, will he call the 57th?” She said she should not have to draft a court order spelling out the entire criminal code for him to avoid violations.
“This hearing is not about politics. It is not about the conduct of the office of special counsel. It is about the defendant’s conduct,” Jackson said. “I’m concerned you seem to treat these proceedings as another marketing exercise.”
Posted in AZBlueMeanie, Campaigns, Constitution, Corruption, Courts, Crime, Election Integrity, Elections, Ethics, GOP War On..., Justice, Law Enforcement, President, Russian Affair, Scandals, War
Tagged Cyber Crime, Cyber War, obstruction of justice, Special Counsel, suborning perjury, witness tampering
Throughout the history of our country since World World War Two, our Presidents have uniformly engaged in building and solidifying multinational alliances, over time, with like-minded nations that promoted democratic capitalism institutions and social justice ideals. They have also been fairly uniformly firm towards major potential adversaries, holding to the motto of “peace through strength” and engaging, again over time, with these nations in mutual economic and military understandings. Despite grievances from the occasional fringe element on both the right and left, this is how Presidents have largely conducted foreign policy since 1941. This is in danger of being turned upside down by President Donald Trump as he chastises our allies, threatens our multinational alliances, embraces our adversaries, and runs summits like an episode of a reality television show.
Posted in Activism, Budgets, Commentary, Community, Congress, Constitution, Corruption, David Gordon, Economics, Education, Energy, Immigration, International, Legislation, Mexico Border, Military, President, Science, Terrorism, Veterans, War
Tagged donald trump
So many scandals, so little time … it’s hard to keep up with all of the scandals of the most corrupt administration in American history. Judge in Emoluments Case Questions Defense of Trump’s Hotel Profits:
A federal judge on Monday sharply criticized the Justice Department’s argument that President Trump’s financial interest in his company’s hotel in downtown Washington is constitutional, a fresh sign that the judge may soon rule against the president in a historic case that could head to the Supreme Court.
As one pundit recently quipped, “The Trump Hotel should be renamed the Hotel Emoluments Clause.”
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit, the District of Columbia and the state of Maryland, charge that Mr. Trump’s profits from the hotel violate anti-corruption clauses of the Constitution that restrict government-bestowed financial benefits, or emoluments, to presidents beyond their official salary. They say the hotel is siphoning business from local convention centers and hotels.
The judge, Peter J. Messitte of the United States District Court in Maryland, promised to decide by the end of July whether to allow the plaintiffs to proceed to the next stage, in which they could demand financial records from the hotel or other evidence from the president. The case takes aim at whether Mr. Trump violated the Constitution’s emoluments clauses, which prevent a president from accepting government-bestowed benefits either at home or abroad. Until now, the issue of what constitutes an illegal emolument has never been litigated.
Posted in AZBlueMeanie, Congress, Constitution, Corruption, Courts, Crime, Ethics, International, Justice, Law Enforcement, President, Scandals, Taxes
Tagged Emoluments Clause, grifter