Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Judge Has Harsh Words For DOJ in Key Voter Integrity Case

PJ Media ^ | February 22, 2016 | Andrew Kloster 

"This is the first time in 14 years I've seen this."
Those were some of federal district Judge Leon's comments regarding what the Department of Justice asked for in court today, as part of an important case that could impact the integrity of the 2016 election.
The DOJ sought to not fight a lawsuit against the federal Election Assistance Commission (EAC), conceding to a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction filed by the League of Women voters and other activist groups. The EAC had decided to allow Kansas, Arizona, Georgia, and other states "to enforce state laws ensuring that only citizens" would be able to register to vote when they use the federally designed voter registration form.
"Inconceivably," the DOJ did not want to fight against the activists' suit trying to stop the implementation of these voter integrity laws.
As Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach argued today, not allowing states to do this would run afoul of Article I, Section 2, Clause 1 of the Constitution, which reserves voting qualifications for the states. Kansas has already documented 17 cases of non-citizens seeking to register to vote, putting a practical reason behind that state's decision to require that voters provide some sort of evidence of citizenship (passport, birth certificate, naturalization documents, some other enumerated documentation, or any other adequate proof).
And yet DOJ had sought to roll over. Judge Leon would not allow it.
The first action he took from the bench today was to read into the record a letter he had received from a sitting EAC commissioner, noting the possible conflicts that DOJ had in representing the EAC. He then allowed the Kansas Secretary of State time to argue, along with J. Christian Adams of the Public Interest Legal Group (Adams is PJ Media's Legal Editor.)
Judge Leon had other harsh words for the plaintiffs and the DOJ. He said that, ordinarily, DOJ briefs "cover the waterfront," making numerous legal arguments defending their position. Yet in this case, DOJ was refusing to defend an independent agency's right to follow its statutory duty. Judge Leon asked if this represented a possible conflict. The DOJ attorney answered that there was no conceivable set of circumstances in which DOJ might have a conflict of interest vis-à-vis its representation of an independent agency in federal court, something that the judge clearly questioned.
Judge Leon noted that the filings reflected upon the quality of "your section [the Federal Programs branch of DOJ] and you specifically [the DOJ attorney]." He said the DOJ position was "very unusual," and "is inconsistent with what I've seen before."
He also appeared perturbed that, after he had granted extra time to the DOJ to get its facts straight, the attorney was still unable to answer questions about the case:
I gave you the weekend ... what the heck have you been doing?
Plaintiff's counsel in the case didn't fare any better, referring repeatedly to other attorneys in the front row for elementary facts of the case:
No, they can't answer -- you can go talk with them.
At the outset, the Judge noted the large crowd appearing for the plaintiff. Over 20 lawyers representing an alphabet soup of activist groups had sought to sit in the front of the courtroom at the counsels' table, but a number were moved back to the gallery. Said Leon:
This is a traveling roadshow, and those must be all your fans.
I overheard a lawyer for the plaintiff say upon reseating:
I guess if you get to be a dictator in your own little fiefdom, that's pretty good.
Why such emotion in a federal court on a motion for a temporary restraining order? Simply put, the case could impact the ability of states to require citizenship proofs to register to vote. While the EAC has no statutory or constitutional authorization to tell states who qualifies as a voter, it does have authority over the federal form that states must use when registering individuals for federal elections. So while the agency has authority over the form, it is required by statute -- and the Constitution, as Secretary Kobach noted in a discussion of federalism and election law -- to allow states a way to place their qualifications on the form.
Judge Leon expressed interest in the communications between the DOJ and the EAC. When pressed, Secretary Kobach named Civil Rights Division attorney Bradley Heard as the attorney he thought was responsible for "commandeering" EAC internal processes, and encouraging it to prohibit proof of citizenship requirements on the federal form prior to this year's decision that is the subject of the current litigation. Judge Leon was interested in hearing about DOJ involvement in developing the EAC form, because this bears on the legality of EAC action and on the propriety of continued DOJ representation of the EAC.
Ultimately, this case appears to be on the fast-track in federal district court. A decision in this case, and a subsequent appeal to the D.C. Circuit, will bear on the ability of states to protect the integrity of their ballots in the 2016 election and in years to come.

Why Donald Trump Can’t Win The White House

The Federalist ^ | 22 Feb 16 | Varad Mehta 

Donald Trump is the candidate of the white working class. His popularity with this cohort was recognized early in his candidacy. The preponderance of commentary on the Trump phenomenon since then, whether favorable to the tumescent real-estate mogul and reality television star or not, has proceeded from this assumption.

These analyses affirm Trump's allure to white, working-class voters as central to his candidacy. It is the pillar on which his dominant standing in the polls rests. If Trump wins the Republican nomination, it will be through their support.

Yet these analyses, revealing as they are, overlook a salient fact. The verdict of working-class voters will not be the only one rendered on Trump, or the most important one. However popular Trump may be with the working class, he is as unpopular with voters who have graduated from college, a group without whose backing the GOP has no shot at regaining the White House.

(Excerpt) Read more at thefederalist.com ...

Really Dumb!






Lying Dogs!


The Truth!




Four Years


Feel the Bern!


Schumer's Idea


What a fool!










The Great Republican Revolt

The Atlantic ^ | jan/Feb 2016 | David Frum 

White Middle Americans express heavy mistrust of every institution in American society: not only government, but corporations, unions, even the political party they typically vote for—the Republican Party of Romney, Ryan, and McConnell, which they despise as a sad crew of weaklings and sellouts... And when Donald Trump came along, they were the people who told the pollsters, “That’s my guy.”
They aren’t necessarily superconservative. They often don’t think in ideological terms at all. But they do strongly feel that life in this country used to be better for people like them—and they want that older country back.
...People like them in many other democratic countries too. Across Europe, populist parties are delivering a message that combines defense of the welfare state with skepticism about immigration; that denounces the corruption of parliamentary democracy and also the risks of global capitalism. Some of these parties have a leftish flavor, like Italy’s Five Star Movement. Some are rooted to the right of center, like the U.K. Independence Party. Some descend from neofascists, like France’s National Front. Others trace their DNA to Communist parties, like Slovakia’s governing Direction–Social Democracy.
These populists seek to defend what the French call “acquired rights”—health care, pensions, and other programs that benefit older people—against bankers and technocrats who endlessly demand austerity; against migrants who make new claims and challenge accustomed ways; against a globalized market that depresses wages and benefits. In the United States, they lean Republican because they fear the Democrats want to take from them and redistribute to Americans who are newer, poorer, and in their view less deserving—to “spread the wealth around,” in candidate Barack Obama’s words to “Joe the Plumber” back in 2008. Yet they have come to fear more and more strongly that their party does not have their best interests at heart.
(Excerpt) Read more at theatlantic.com ...