Category Archives: Courts

Election challenges filed in CD 8 special election primary

Democratic activist Lynda Vescio has filed an election challenge to the petitions filed by Democrats Brianna Westbrook and Gene Scharer. Two of Three Democrats in Arizona Special Election Face Lawsuit:

CD 8 boundaries

Lawsuits were filed against two Democrats running in Arizona’s 8th District’s special election on Thursday challenging the number of signatures on their petitions to get on the ballot.

Brianna Westbrook and Gene Scharer are both running in the special election to replace Rep. Trent Franks, who resigned last month after reports he offered a staffer money to carry his child.

The lawsuits said the two did not have enough petition signatures to be on the ballot. [Westbrook submitted 800 signatures, and Scharer submitted 666 signatures.]

But some of the ballots for the primary, which will be held on February 27, have already been mailed to military and overseas voters, ABC15 reported. The general election is scheduled for April 24.

Lynda Vescio did not file an election challenge to the petitions of Dr. Hiral Tipirneni, the third Democrat in the special eelction primary, who submitted 2,048 signatures, more than enough to qualify.

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GOP Disarray on DACA Deal

Just ten days ago, President Trump staged a televised bipartisan congressional discussion on immigration and DACA at the White House, the purpose of which was to dispel the claims of his incompetence in Michael Wolff’s new book “Fire And Fury.” It did not go well.

Trump literally agreed to everything each member of Congress proposed, including a “clean” DACA bill proposed by Sen. Dianne Feinstein. GOP Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy had to jump in, “Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!” and remind Trump of the Republican position on DACA: that any agreement needs to come with substantial border security.

The takeaway from this meeting was this: Trump says he’ll sign DACA deal, pursue comprehensive immigration reform:

You guys are going to have to come up with a solution [for DACA], and I’m going to sign that solution,” Trump said during a bipartisan meeting of House and Senate leaders at the White House on Tuesday morning.

“When you talk about comprehensive immigration reform, which is where I would like to get to eventually,” Trump said, turning to Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., “If we do the right bill here, we are not very far away, we’ve done most of it. You want to know the truth, Dick, if we do this properly, DACA, you’re not so far away from comprehensive immigration reform. And if you want to take it that further step, I’ll take the heat. I don’t care,” said Trump.

“My positions are going to be what the people in this room come up with,” the president later told the press pool. “If they come to me with things I’m not in love with, I’m going to do it, because I respect them,” Trump said, flanked by Durbin and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md.

The Senate’s “Gang of Six” has put together a bipartisan compromise on DACA which has bipartisan support. Senate DACA deal picks up GOP supporters:

A bipartisan immigration agreement is picking up the support of several additional GOP senators despite opposition from President Trump and the White House.

Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-S.C.) office announced that GOP Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Mike Rounds (S.D.) are signing onto the forthcoming legislation.

That brings the total number of Republican lawmakers officially backing the bill up to seven, including Graham and GOP Sens. Jeff Flake (Ariz.) and Cory Gardner (Colo.) — who were part of the original “Gang of Six.”

Despite Trump’s televised assurances that “”My positions are going to be what the people in this room come up with … If they come to me with things I’m not in love with, I’m going to do it, because I respect them,” Trump called the Senate proposal “horrible” on border security and “very, very weak” on reforms to the legal immigration system on Wednesday. Trump calls immigration proposal ‘horrible’.

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The GOP’s war on the poor: Medicaid work requirements

Now that Tea-Publicans have accomplished their one goal of passing their “tax cuts for corporations and plutocrats” bill, this year their attention will turn to punishing the poor for being poor, those damn “takers”!

The GOP’s alleged boy genius and Ayn Rand fanboy, Paul Ryan, “the zombie-eyed granny starver from the state of Wisconsin,” wants to fulfill his life-long dream of dismantling Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, the so-called “entitlement” programs, more accurately the “social contract” programs for which people paid taxes into during their working years on the premise that it will be there for them in their retirement years.

But with the Senate down to a bare 51-49 GOP majority, the Septuagenarian Ninja Turtle, Mitch McConnell, says Entitlement reform is not on 2018 Senate agenda despite what House Speaker Paul Ryan and senior Trump administration officials say. It’s Ryan vs. McConnell on entitlement reform. House Speaker Paul Ryan’s dream of dismantling the nation’s entitlement programs in 2018 has run into a harsh reality: His own party isn’t on board.

Nevertheless, Tea-Publicans are going to chip away at the social contract programs this year. In a break from longstanding legal precedent, last week the Trump Administration Says States May Impose Work Requirements for Medicaid:

The Trump administration said on Thursday that it would allow states to impose work requirements in Medicaid, a major policy shift that moves toward fulfilling a conservative vision for one of the nation’s largest social insurance programs for low-income people.

Federal officials said they would support state efforts to require able-bodied adults to work or participate in other “community engagement activities” as a condition of eligibility for Medicaid.

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Arizona legislature to court: you can’t tell us that we are violating the law by not funding schools

Earlier this week, I pointed out that Governor Doug Ducey, as well as reporters and pundits, were not discussing the lawsuit filed last year by Arizona school districts for being short-changed by our lawless Tea-Publican legislature on capital funding. Arizona schools to sue state over funding – again:

A year after voters passed Prop. 123 to resolve a $1.6 billion lawsuit over school funding, Arizona school districts are again taking the governor and Legislature to court.

And this lawsuit is even larger.

School budget officials have estimated the cuts since 2009 total about $2 billion.

On Tuesday, Governor Ducey offered a weak response: School capital funding case goes to court, Governor Ducey only offers pennies on the dollar of what is actually owed.

On Friday, the state of Arizona was in court arguing that the court does not have jurisdiction to decide that our lawless Tea-Publican legislature and governor are violating the law, and a previous landmark Arizona Supreme Court decision, on capital funding for schools. The state’s position is not supported at law or prior court decisions. State presses for dismissal of Arizona school funds suit:

An attorney for the state told a judge Friday he has no legal right to hear a complaint that the Legislature is not providing enough funds for schools.

“This is a political question,” Brett Johnson told Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Daniel Martin.

The courts have previously rejected the “political question” doctrine in prior decisions.

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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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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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