Category Archives: GOP War On…

Outlaw Dirty Money initiative challenged in court

The same legal arguments being made by the GOP’s voter suppression team and its “dark money” allies (e.g., APS and “Kochtopus” tentacles) against the Invest in Education Act initiative and the Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona initiative were made against the Outlaw Dirty Money initiative on Monday.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge James Smith last week, reviewing the Invest in Education Act initiative, ruled that state legislators acted illegally in enacting a requirement in 2017 that all efforts by voters to enact their own laws must be in “strict compliance” with each and every election statute.

But Maricopa County Superior Court Judge James Kiley reached the opposite conclusion in reviewing the Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona initiative.

The conflicting rulings mean the Arizona Supreme Court will have to determine who is right — and soon as what the justices rule ultimately could determine what will be on the November ballot. Initiatives may not be decided at the ballot box but by seven justices of the Arizona Supreme Court.

Another issue the Arizona Supreme Court will have to decide is the constitutionality of the 2014 law that requires judges to toss signatures from circulators who don’t show up in court. Failure to show up in court in response to the subpoena means a judge must invalidate all the signatures collected by that individual – even if valid.

This 2014 voter suppression law is more directly at issue in yesterday’s review of the Outlaw Dirty Money initiative. The Arizona Capitol Times reports, ‘Dark money,’ renewable energy ballot measures in court:

The question of whether voters get to decide whether to outlaw “dark money” could depend on whether a judge voids a law that throws a hurdle in the path of initiative organizers.

GOP attorney Kory Langhofer who represents groups that now do not disclose the source of their funds contends that the Outlaw Dirty Money committee does not have sufficient valid signatures to put the issue on the November ballot. At a hearing Monday, Langhofer told Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Teresa Sanders there are flaws with many of the signatures.

But much of Langhofer’s case rests on the fact that he issued more than a dozen subpoenas to people who circulated petitions, people who he contends were not legally qualified. These include people who Langhofer contends have felony convictions or did not provide a proper address.

None of those subpoenaed showed up in court on Monday.

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A travesty of justice: GOP stonewalls on Judge Brett Kavanaugh documents while rushing his confirmation hearing

I previously explained that Judge Kavanaugh provided misleading testimony in his previous confirmation hearing.

Kavanaugh testified that he had no role in the Bush administration terrorist interrogation and torture program. A year after his confirmation, NPR reported Brett Kavanaugh may have been less-than-forthright with Congress at a crucial hearing last year to confirm his appointment to a seat on the powerful federal appeals court in Washington, D.C.  Federal Judge Downplayed Role in Detainee Cases.

In fact, in 2002, Kavanaugh and a group of top White House lawyers discussed whether the Supreme Court would uphold the Bush administration’s decision to deny lawyers to American enemy combatants. Kavanaugh advised the group that the Supreme Court’s swing voter, Justice Anthony Kennedy, would probably reject the president’s assertion that the men were not entitled to counsel. Kavanaugh had worked as a clerk for Kennedy. That meeting was first reported in The Washington Post. NPR independently confirmed the details with multiple sources.

Durbin now says he feels “perilously close to being lied to” at Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing.

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Michelle Reagan is terrible, but Steve Gaynor fancies himself the next Kris Kobach

Arizona’s bumbling  Secretary of State, Michelle Reagan, appears headed for defeat in the GOP primary as a result of her demonstrated incompetence and repeated failures in performing the essential functions of her job.

Unfortunately her Republican opponent, millionaire businessman Steve Gaynor, fancies himself the next Kris Kobach, the GOP voter suppression specialist from Kansas.

Daily Kos reports GOP primary frontrunner for Arizona secretary of state wants to stop printing ballots in Spanish:

At a recent debate ahead of Arizona’s Aug. 28 Republican primary for secretary of state, businessman Steve Gaynor advocated for banning the printing of ballots and other election materials in Spanish, arguing that they should only be in English. Furthermore, Gaynor called for repealing the 1975 amendment to the federal Voting Rights Act that, thanks to a history of discrimination by many states—including Arizona itself—requires jurisdictions with large populations of non-English speakers to provide election materials in voters’ native languages.

Given that record of discrimination in a state that’s one-quarter Latino or Native American, it’s astonishing that a candidate would openly advocate for a measure that could make voting considerably more difficult for so many. But with Republicans escalating their voter suppression efforts thanks to a Supreme Court that seems determined to eviscerate the Voting Rights Act, Gaynor’s proposal isn’t an empty threat.

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Gov. Doug Ducey to participate in Trump middle-finger to Americans on Monday

The Trump White House is planning a “Salute to the Heroes of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs [and] Border Protection” on Monday, August 20 in the East Room. The ceremony is a politically motivated stunt to provoke ire from opponents of Trump’s zero tolerance family separation policy.

Naturally,  Arizona’s Governor Doug Ducey intends to participate in this middle-finger to Americans opposed to the political party of kidnapping and child abuse and making orphans out of innocent children. Way to make us proud, Trump troll.

Daily Kos reports, As hundreds of separated migrant kids remain locked up, White House to honor ICE and CBP ‘heroes’:

As hundreds of separated migrant children continue to remain under U.S. custody and at ongoing risk of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, Donald Trump plans to honor the border agents who kidnapped them from their parents’ arms and locked them up in cages in the first place.

Politico reports the White House has planned a “Salute to the Heroes of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs [and] Border Protection” event for next Monday, coming a few days after Trump claimed that immigration agents “have been absolutely abused.”

All right, if he wants to talk abuse, let’s talk about abuse.

Despite a federal judge’s court order, the Trump administration continues to hold more than 560 kids under U.S. custody, including two dozen kids aged five years old and under. [Contempt of court.] Not only is the administration blatantly violating a court order, it’s continuing to keep kids locked up in facilities where migrant children have already been molested, and are only there because of  Trump’s family separation policy.

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Initiatives may not be decided at the ballot box but by seven justices of the Arizona Supreme Court

Back in July, the Arizona Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a  legal challenge to void a statute requiring initiative petitions to be in “strict compliance” with each election law. State argues case on ballot-measure rule not ‘ripe’:

Assistant Attorney General Kara Karlson who signed the legal brief, told the justices that they don’t even have to consider whether the new requirements violate the constitutional rights of voters. She said only those who have suffered some harm from the new law — or are at least immediately threatened — have a legal right to challenge it.

Karlson said that’s not the case here.

She pointed out that none of the groups that filed suit have a pending initiative which is in danger of being disqualified from the ballot based on the new strict compliance mandate. And Karlson brushed aside their claims that the law interferes with efforts to plan future ballot measures, saying that amounts to little more than “a naked assertion that they may want to circulate initiatives at some unspecified point in the future.”

And that, she said, means the case is not legally “ripe” for the court to consider.

The justices gave no date to consider the issue.

Well the issue is now “ripe” as a result of two conflicting opinions issued yesterday on strict compliance versus substantial compliance in legal challenges to two initiatives. The Arizona Supreme Court will now have to rule on the issue. Judge rules tax on rich initiative can go to ballot:

A judge has slapped down efforts by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry to block people from voting whether to hike income taxes on the rich to generate $690 million a year for education.

In an extensive ruling Thursday, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge James Smith acknowledged that, strictly speaking, hiking the top income tax rate from 4.54 percent to 8 percent for those earning more than $250,000 a year actually increases the tax rate on those earnings by 76 percent. Similarly, taking the tax rate for earnings above $500,000 for individuals to 9 percent is a 98 percent increase over the current rate.

But Smith said that did not make it inherently misleading for organizers of the Invest in Ed initiative to describe the tax hikes as 3.46 percent and 4.46 percent, the absolute difference between the current rate and the proposed new ones.

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Journalists are not the enemy

I mentioned in a previous post that The Boston Globe invited newspapers across the country to stand up for the free press with a coordinated series of newspaper editorials condemning Donald Trump’s attacks on “fake news” and suggestion that journalists are “the enemy of the people,” to be published on Thursday, August 16, 2018. (h/t Boston Globe graphic).

The New York Times editorial today links to  a selection from the hundreds of newspaper editorials across the country today that answered the clarion call of The Boston Globe. A FREE PRESS NEEDS YOU. (A Google search did not locate a complete list).

Here in Arizona, the Lee Enterprises owned Arizona Daily Sun in Flagstaff, The press is not the enemy of the people, and the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson published editorials. Star Opinion: The free press is not the ‘enemy of the people’.

In southern Arizona, the Tucson Sentinel published an editorial, What we stand for at TucsonSentinel.com, as did the Sierra Vista HeraldWe’re Not The Enemy, and Green Valley News. EDITORIAL: Reflection needed for Trump, media.

While the national publication USA Today published an editorial, What our investigative journalists expose isn’t fake news, Arizona’s largest circulation newspaper, The Arizona Republic, in the USA Today network did not. Subscribers should demand to know why.

UPDATE: I am informed The Republic did publish an editorial, which I did not find onIine early this morning at azcentral.com. Good on them!

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