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RandySF's Journal
RandySF's Journal
December 1, 2023

House GOP Leaders Oppose Ousting George Santos

Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) plans to vote against ousting Rep. George Santos (R-NY), Politico reports.

CNN reports Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) is also opposed.

The Washington Examiner reports Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-MN) is opposed.

Politico reports Republican Conference chair Elise Stefanik (R-NY) is opposed.


December 1, 2023

The court hereby orders Map 1 as the remedial plan for Galveston County.


The Redistrict Network
#BREAKING: Judge Brown has granted the plaintiffs emergency motion for remedy in the Galveston County redistricting case.

The court hereby orders Map 1 as the remedial plan for Galveston County.
December 1, 2023

MT: District court drag ban case paused while state appeals to 9th Circuit

A federal judge’s decision whether to permanently block Montana’s drag ban law will have to wait. First, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will make a decision on the state’s appeal of the initial injunction that temporarily blocked the law in October.’

Attorneys for the state and for the plaintiffs in the case met with the Montana judge in a phone pretrial conference Wednesday afternoon after plaintiffs’ attorneys with Upper Seven Law moved to permanently enjoin the drag ban. It is already temporarily enjoined per an October order.

Attorneys for the state representing Attorney General Austin Knudsen and Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen, who are two of the named defendants in the case, filed an appeal of the preliminary injunction on Nov. 13.

During Wednesday’s conference, the court and the two sides agreed to stay proceedings in the case in the U.S. District Court of Montana until the appeal in the 9th Circuit is resolved, meaning no summary judgment on the drag ban could be issued until the appeals court rules on the appeal.


December 1, 2023

Anti-abortion AZ Supreme Court Justice recuses self from abortion case

An Arizona Supreme Court judge who once accused Planned Parenthood of committing genocide has agreed to recuse himself from a case involving the organization that will determine the future legality of abortion in the state.

In October, Planned Parenthood Arizona called for Justice Bill Montgomery to step away from the case after the resurfacing of a 2017 Facebook post in which he said its national counterpart was responsible for the “greatest generational genocide known to man.” The organization, which runs four of the state’s nine abortion clinics and is the main litigant in the case, argued that Montgomery’s vehement opposition to it threatens to jeopardize its right to a fair and impartial trial.

n fewer than two weeks, the high court is scheduled to hear arguments in a lawsuit over whether to reinstate a near-total ban from 1864 that carries with it mandatory prison time for doctors who perform abortions for any reason other than saving the patient’s life. The 1864 law was briefly in place last year, but the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled that a 2022 law banning abortions after 15 weeks should be the law of the land instead. The case was revived when a local anti-abortion doctor appealed, seeking to convince the state supreme court to reverse the lower court’s decision and make the procedure illegal in virtually all cases.

Initially, Montgomery dismissed Planned Parenthood Arizona’s request, rebutting that his criticism had been directed at its parent organization and he has made no comments indicating his position on abortion legality since then. And, Montgomery said in his response last week, his actions as a Maricopa County Attorney, which included attending a protest in front of Planned Parenthood of Arizona’s headquarters in 2015, aren’t governed by the same ethical rules he now follows as a judge. Arizona’s Code of Judicial Conduct advises judges to recuse themselves when their “impartiality might reasonably be questioned,” especially when the judge has a personal bias against one of the parties or lawyers involved in a case.


December 1, 2023

Louisiana Legislature gets time to draw congressional map in third redistricting session

A federal judge on Monday gave Louisiana lawmakers an extra two weeks to draw a new congressional map that doesn’t violate the Voting Rights Act, allowing time for the incoming governor to convene a third redistricting session within a year’s time.

The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled earlier this month that legislators had until Jan. 15 to redraw Louisiana’s congressional boundaries to comply with a district court ruling to add a second majority-Black district. Otherwise, a trial would begin on the merits of a lawsuit that Black voters and civil rights groups brought against the state last year after Republican lawmakers adopted a map with just one Black district out of six despite the state having a population that is one-third Black.

The trial would be held in Louisiana’s Middle District under Judge Shelly Dick, an Obama appointee who previously ruled the existing map dilutes the voting rights of Black residents.

The appeals court also noted that Dick had discretion to give the state a deadline extension. Dick used that authority Monday and granted a request from the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office to push the deadline back to Jan. 30, 2024.


December 1, 2023

Cook Political Report shifts Montana Senate race toward GOP

he nonpartisan election handicapper Cook Political Report shifted its rating of the 2024 race for Sen. Jon Tester’s (D-Mont.) seat from “lean Democrat” to a “toss up” Thursday.

“Three-term Sen. Jon Tester may well be Democrats’ strongest incumbent this cycle — he still enjoys an approval rating around 60 percent — but the 67-year-old has the toughest uphill climb of any incumbent Democrat, at least purely by the numbers,” wrote Jessica Taylor, senate and governors editor for Cook Political Report.
“Besides Tester’s proven ability to overcome the GOP lean of the state (he ran seven points ahead of then-President Barack Obama in 2012), the main reason we started this race in Lean Democrat was the prospect of a looming, bruising Republican primary that could divide the party, drain resources and produce a weaker Republican candidate,” she continued. “Moreover, outrunning Biden in a state where his loss margin could be even wider goes against recent political trends.”

Taylor noted that while there’s still the potential for a messy GOP primary between Republican candidates Tim Sheehy and Rep. Matt Rosendale (Mont.), as Rosendale has not taken himself out of the running for a possible primary run, there are signs that key Republicans in the state and nationally are coalescing around Sheehy.


November 30, 2023

In split ruling, NH Supreme Court says it can't review partisan gerrymandering claims

In a 3-2 decision, New Hampshire’s Supreme Court has found that the state constitution gives lawmakers broad authority to control the redistricting process, and that state courts can’t rely on it to review claims of partisan gerrymandering.

The decisionresolves a 2022 lawsuit that alleged that current district maps for the New Hampshire Senate and Executive Council unconstitutionally advantage Republicans.

The suit, dismissed by a trial judge in 2022, alleged that GOP-drawn political maps “cracked” and “packed” Democratic voters across districts in ways that allow Republicans to claim Council and Senate majorities regardless of receiving fewer overall votes.

Wednesday’s ruling affirms the trial court’s finding that political gerrymandering hinges on “non-justiciable political questions.”


November 30, 2023

How the Elections Transparency Act's fundraising rules benefited NJ Democrats

The sweeping Elections Transparency Act was sold by Trenton's ruling Democrats as a necessary revision of New Jersey's outdated campaign finance system.

It would beam, for the first time, the purifying light of transparency onto some of New Jersey's dark money groups, the law's advocates contended. Complicated "pay-to-play" laws that bedeviled contractors for years would be streamlined. And donor limits would be increased to reflect the rising costs of running elections.

But the law also had another brass-tacks purpose. It provided New Jersey's Democrats, who hold majorities in both the Assembly and the state Senate, with significant cash to steamroll their Republican rivals. That proved enough to crush the GOP's hopes of expanding its foothold in Trenton — and maybe regaining majority control — after spending two decades on the sidelines of power.

The Democratic Party enjoyed a lopsided advantage in most of the six competitive contests that dominated each party's fundraising and attention this fall, according to an examination of election filings released this week by the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission. Campaigns are required to submit reports 20 days after the election.


November 30, 2023

L.A. will switch to independent redistricting if voters approve in 2024 election

The Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved a plan Wednesday to establish an independent redistricting commission for the city and place it on the November 2024 ballot.

The council’s action caps a years-long effort to fix a process that has been widely decried as broken.

Under the city’s current redistricting system, the City Council has the final say over the maps, which are redrawn every 10 years, and elected officials can appoint members to the redistricting panel who essentially act as their proxies. Implementing independent redistricting would curtail the council’s influence over their own district lines.

If approved by Los Angeles voters, the new independent redistricting commission would be composed of 16 commissioners and four alternates who serve 10-year terms. The application process will be managed by the city clerk’s office, with the City Ethics Commission providing oversight. After completing their service, commissioners will be ineligible to run for any council district seat whose boundaries they helped draw, among other restrictions.


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About RandySF

Partner, father and liberal Democrat. I am a native Michigander living in San Francisco who is a citizen of the world.

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