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Member since: Mon Apr 5, 2004, 03:58 PM
Number of posts: 90,959

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Federal court invalidates part of Texas congressional map

Source: Texas Tribune

Federal judges have invalidated two Texas congressional districts, ruling that they must be fixed by either the Legislature or a federal court.

In a unanimous decision Tuesday, a three-judge panel in San Antonio ruled that Congressional Districts 27 and 35 violate the U.S. Constitution and the federal Voting Rights Act. The judges found that Hispanic voters in Congressional District 27, represented by U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Corpus Christi, were "intentionally deprived of their opportunity to elect a candidate of their choice." Congressional District 35 — a Central Texas district represented by Democrat Lloyd Doggett of Austin — was deemed "an impermissible racial gerrymander" because mapdrawers illegally used race as the predominant factor in drawing it without a compelling state interest, the judges wrote.

The 107-page ruling — the latest chapter of a six-year court battle over how Texas lawmakers drew political maps — sets up a scramble to redraw the districts in time for the 2018 elections.

The court ordered the Texas Attorney General’s Office to indicate within three business days whether the Texas Legislature would take up redistricting to fix those violations. Otherwise, the state and its legal foes will head back to court on Sept. 5 to begin re-drawing the congressional map — which could shake up other congressional races when the boundaries are changed.

Read more: https://www.texastribune.org/2017/08/15/federal-court-invalidates-part-texas-congressional-map/

If the Texas legislature does not elect to redraw the boundaries, then there will be a hearing on Sept 5 to 8. This ruling is only on the Congressional Districts and a separate ruling will be issued on the Texas state house seats

Rep: Texas A&M cancels Sept. 11 White Lives Matter event

Here is some good news http://www.chron.com/local/education/campus-chronicles/article/Rep-Texas-A-M-cancels-Sept-11-White-Lives-11818626.php?ipid=ntk

Rep. John Raney said Monday on the House floor that a white supremacist rally on Texas A&M University's campus has been cancelled. A university spokeswoman confirmed the news later Monday, citing safety concerns.

Texas A&M administrators consulted with law enforcement, system leaders and regents before cancelling the rally, spokeswoman Amy Smith said.

Preston Wiginton, a former Texas A&M student, had announced on Saturday that he would host a White Lives Matter event in College Station on Sept. 11. He planned to host a White Lives Matter representative from Houston and Richard Spencer, a white nationalist who espoused racist views on that campus in December.

The story of Debbie Wasserman Schultz and an indicted IT staffer thats lighting up the right, expla

The RWNJ sources are pushing this story as the next E. Farkas, Susan Rice and/or Seth Rich conspiracy theory. I had never heard of this story and it seems that there is nothing to it. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/08/08/the-story-of-debbie-wasserman-schultz-and-an-it-staffer-thats-lighting-up-the-right/?utm_term=.b94fdc35fed2

Mainstream media outlets have covered the story, but not extensively. The Washington Post has published two articles: One reporting Awan's arrest and the other about a watchdog group seeking an investigation.

Left-leaning sites have either stayed away from it or defended Wasserman Schultz's account of it.

The congresswoman says conservatives are making a big deal of this to distract from the much more real Russia investigation. “Undoubtedly, the easier path would have been to terminate Mr. Awan, despite the fact that I had not received any evidence of his alleged wrongdoing,” she said in a statement issued last week, “but that is not the woman my constituents elected, and that is not the mother my children know me to be.”

Clearly, there are a lot of political accusations tied up in this nuanced story. Here's what we know about the timeline of accusations against Arwan, his arrest and his dismissal by Wasserman Schultz.

After reading the timeline in the Washington Post article, there is not anything to worry about despite the hype on RWNJ sources

A New Poll Shows American Muslims Are Less Homophobic Than White Evangelical Christians

This polling was nice to see http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/08/a-new-poll-shows-american-muslims-are-less-homophobic-than-white-evangelical-christians/

But what’s perhaps more noteworthy, particularly for Trump’s opponents, is Pew’s finding about Muslim Americans’ attitudes toward the LGBT community. Statistically, they’ve become much more accepting of LGBT people: 52 percent of Muslim Americans now agree that homosexuality should be accepted by society—up from just 27 percent in 2007. And while they are not the most accepting group polled, their views have shifted toward being gay-friendly by a greater margin than any other group in the survey. White evangelical Christians remain the least accepting; the group’s views were comparable to those of Muslim Americans in 2007, with 23 percent of white evangelical Christians saying homosexuality should be accepted by society. Today only 34 percent say the same. It’s also worth highlighting that about 80 percent of white evangelicals who voted backed Trump, according to exit polls.

ACLU Amicus Brief in John Oliver case

I have been following this case and read the ACLU amicus brief yesterday and enjoyed it. Here is a link t the brief https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3911409-Wvnd-19902323086.html

I am not the only one who enjoyed this brief


Match site launches for progressive lawyers and non-profits

I volunteer and work in the real world to change things. I was a member of the Victory Counsel Program with Marc Elias. I like this program http://www.politico.com/story/2017/07/28/match-site-launches-for-anti-trump-lawyers-and-non-profits-241065?utm_content=bufferbc5ed&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

President Donald Trump has inspired a new online dating service—between lawyers opposed to him seeking pro-bono work and opposition non-profits in need of help.

We the Action, launching Friday, will be an online portal to connect lawyers with legal work waiting to be done, from reviewing leases and contracts to filing Social Security claims to potentially heading to court in immigration cases. Non-profits will be able to post the services they need, and search through online profiles created by attorneys detailing expertise and availability.

Several connections have been made already by the 501c4, funded and incubated by the California-based Emerson Collective, the organization founded and led by Laurene Powell Jobs.

“After the election and as Trump was coming, there was this huge outpouring of lawyers who just wanted to know what they could do,” said Marc Elias, the D.C. Democratic elections lawyer who is serving as We the Action’s board chairman. “We ought to be able to match this great demand for legal services.”

Democratic operative Addisu Demisse and Emerson Collective immigration expert Marshall Fitz make up the rest of the board.

Independent of this group, I am helping three grassroots groups set up their organization and qualify as a GPAC under Texas law.

Crowd chanting Hug John McCain

This could be a good sign


The Voting Rights Agenda Must Include Felon Reenfranchisement

Felon disenfranchement must be addressed https://takecareblog.com/blog/the-voting-rights-agenda-must-include-felon-reenfranchisement

Experts have already raised a number of problems with the Trump administration’s voter fraud commission and its request for voter registration information from the states. At the outset, the commission's request may have violated the law by failing to follow federal regulations relating to requests for information. Rick Hasen has raised concerns relating to privacy and federalism, among other issues, and Josh Douglas has argued persuasively that the commission is designed to make "the public think[ ] there is a problem where none exists"—while distracting from real and serious problems infringing on the right to vote.

One of many such problems is that of felony disenfranchisement. More than six million Americans are unable to cast ballots due to laws that prevent those who have committed felonies from voting. The precise terms of the laws vary from state to state: 12 states disenfranchise at least some felons permanently; 22 disenfranchise during prison and parole; 15 during prison. Only two states—Maine and Vermont—do not disenfranchise felons at all, even while they are in prison.

State laws disenfranchising people who have committed felonies can have national consequences. In the 2000 presidential election, for example, George W. Bush ultimately won Florida by just 537 votes, yet almost 950,000 people were unable to vote due to felony convictions. Florida's laws literally could have determined the result of the election. Indeed, demographic data suggest that they probably did. At the time of the election, nearly twenty percent of black men in Florida—a demographic that votes strongly democratic—were unable to vote due to a felony conviction.

Diluting the power of the black vote was in fact the original purpose of many felony disenfranchisement laws. During the Jim Crow era, at the same time that legislatures enacted poll tax laws with the purpose of preventing black people from voting, they also developed laws disenfranchising people who had committed felonies. Such laws were often targeted at felonies for which black people were more likely (or were believed to be more likely) to be convicted.

The authors of the felon disenfranchisement laws would have been pleased with those laws' consequences today. Given the racial disparities throughout the criminal justice system, it is unsurprising that the racial disparity in felon disenfranchisement persists. The numbers are sobering. Nationwide, one in 13 black people has lost the right to vote as a result of a felony conviction, while the same is true of only one in 56 white people. In four states, more than 20% of black people cannot vote due to a past felony conviction: Kentucky (26.2%), Virginia, (21.9%), Florida (21.3%), and Tennessee (21.3%). The trend is particularly consequential given that both Virginia and Florida are often important swing states.

Bill by Al Green would block Trump's ability to self-pardon

Yeah for Congressman Al Green http://www.chron.com/national/article/Bill-from-Green-would-block-Trump-s-ability-to-11317671.php

U.S. Rep. Al Green, a Houston Democrat, said he plans to introduce legislation on Monday that would prevent President Donald Trump from pardoning himself.

Trump said in a Twitter post Saturday that he has “the complete power to pardon,” an apparent reference to his ability to pardon himself and other associates as federal officials investigate Russian interference in Trump’s election.

The Washington Post reported Friday that Trump’s lawyers are considering the president’s ability to grant pardons in an effort to “limit or undercut special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia investigation.”

As the Post reported:

One adviser said the president has simply expressed a curiosity in understanding the reach of his pardoning authority, as well as the limits of Mueller’s investigation

“This is not in the context of, ‘I can’t wait to pardon myself,’ ” a close adviser said.

U.S. Supreme Court partly rejects Trump in latest travel ban fight

Source: Msn

WASHINGTON, July 19 (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday declined for now to block a judge's ruling that prevented President Donald Trump's travel ban from being applied to grandparents of U.S. citizens.

But in a partial win for Trump, the court put on hold part of the judge's ruling that would have allowed more people to enter the United States under a separate ban on refugees.

The brief order said its decision is temporary while the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals considers a separate appeal on the same issue. (Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

Read more: http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/us-supreme-court-partly-rejects-trump-in-latest-travel-ban-fight/ar-AAoswEE?
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