Chief Justice Offers Caution
The U.S. Supreme Court Monday morning refused a request by North Carolina Republicans to review their discriminatory voter ID law that a lower court had struck down. The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals had admonished Tar Heel State Republican lawmakers last year, saying they had set out toÂ â€œtarget African Americans with almost surgical precision.â€ The Appeals Court said lawmakers passed the voter ID legislation with “discriminatory intent.”
The 2013 voter ID law, one of the strictest in the nation, reduced the number of early voting days, banned same-day registration and voting, and struck down the ability of 16 year olds to pre-register to vote.
Republican lawmakers in North Carolina, upon the Supreme Court’s gutting of the Voting Rights Act immediately had set out to study how African-Americans voted, then designed a voter ID law around those patterns.Â
The New York Times, reporting last year on the 4th Circuit’s ruling, notedÂ “the court found that North Carolina lawmakers requested data on racial differences in voting behaviors in the state.
“This data showed that African Americans disproportionately lacked the most common kind of photo ID, those issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV),” the judges wrote.
So the legislators made it so that the only acceptable forms of voter identification were the ones disproportionately used by white people. “With race data in hand, the legislature amended the bill to exclude many of the alternative photo IDs used by African Americans,” the judges wrote. “The bill retained only the kinds of IDs that white North Carolinians were more likely to possess.”
The data also showed that black voters were more likely to make use of early voting â€” particularly the first seven days out of North Carolina’s 17-day voting period. So lawmakers eliminated these seven days of voting. “After receipt of this racial data, the General Assembly amended the bill to eliminate the first week of early voting, shortening the total early voting period from seventeen to ten days,” the court found.
Most strikingly, the judges point to a “smoking gun” in North Carolina’s justification for the law, proving discriminatory intent. The state argued in court that “counties with Sunday voting in 2014 were disproportionately black” and “disproportionately Democratic,” and said it did away with Sunday voting as a result.
It’s importantÂ to note that Chief Justice John Roberts, who was key to the Supreme Court’s decision to effectively neuter the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in 2013, on Monday wrote that the decision to not review the North Carolina case should not be viewed as support or opposition of the North Carolina law itself, but rather about who represented the state itself. North Carolina voted out its Republican governor, who had signed the law into place, and while Republicans in the state legislature supported SCOTUS review, DemocraticÂ Governor Roy Cooper did not.
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Fox News Host’s Inaccurate Reporting Leads to False Right-Wing Speculation Breyer Was Forced Out
Barely minutes before 12:00 noon on Wednesday NBC News’ Pete Williams broke the news that Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer was going to announce he is retiring, at the end of the term.
Hours later Fox News host Shannon Bream breathlessly tweeted, “Multiple sources tell me Justice Breyer was not planning to announce his retirement today. They describe him as ‘upset’ with how this has played out. We still await any official notice from his office and/or the #SCOTUS public information office.”
That was 2:41 PM.
Her tweet was inaccurate – based on her own reporting, about a half-hour later.
At 3:14 PM Bream “clarified” her reporting, making clear that Justice Breyer “firmly decided” to retire on his own, and was merely “surprised” that a top-notch veteran Supreme Court reporter broke the news:
A bit more clarity. I’m told Justice Breyer had firmly decided on his own to retire and that an announcement was due very soon. And while it appears someone jumped the gun on that, better to characterize him as surprised by events today than “upset”.
— Shannon Bream (@ShannonBream) January 26, 2022
Her first tweet has received thousands of retweets and likes and led to false speculation among many right-wingers (adding to the already false claims from the far right) that President Joe Biden forced Justice Breyer out the door – something impossible (unless you do over a billion dollars in business with a bank where the son of a Supreme Court Justice works.)
Too late, the damage is done. Ordinarily many reporters will delete tweets that are inaccurate or wrong, then post the reason why, and a correction. Bream did not.
Over at the right-wing National Review, senior writer Charles C. W. Cooke posted an article titled: “Did the Democratic Party Preempt Justice Breyer’s Announcement to Force His Hand?”
Its only content: Bream’s inaccurate tweet and the words, “It certainly seems possible.”
Here are more results of Bream’s inaccurate reporting:
Chief political correspondent, Washington Examiner and Fox News contributor Byron York:
A little nudge… https://t.co/RZIafIzftL
— Byron York (@ByronYork) January 26, 2022
Another Washington Times columnist and a SiriusXMPatriot personality:
I called it! Liberals pushed it to media to try to play cover for Biden’s absolute failures. https://t.co/lxx5E2bwxi
— Tim Young (@TimRunsHisMouth) January 26, 2022
Former senior advisor to the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC):
Psaki putting this out earlier is interesting – Breyer was NOT given the opportunity to decide how he was going to announce it because either her colleagues in the White House or her allies from the liberal dark money universe leaked it to force his hand.https://t.co/OShkwKC4di
— Matt Whitlock (@mattdizwhitlock) January 26, 2022
Blogger at right wing website Hot Air:
guess: he gave the WH a heads up privately as a courtesy and they couldn’t resist leaking it to give their deeply demoralized base something to get excited about https://t.co/mwwnhDwINm
— Allahpundit (@allahpundit) January 26, 2022
Radio talk show host:
The Biden Admin needed a narrative change and BAD. https://t.co/PNVa5lBU3y
— Annie Frey (@anniefreyshow) January 26, 2022
Silenced by Psaki: Reporter Pushing Right Wing Talking Points Can’t Answer Press Secretary’s Basic Questions About Them
A reporter was silent after pushing right-wing talking points during the White House’s daily press briefing and being asked to explain her question. The Q&A was so disturbing one well-known political scientist weighed in on social media to declare the White House press corps an “embarrassment.”
“Just a quick question on inflation,” the unnamed reporter began as she asked her question on the administration’s plan to strengthen the social safety net and grow jobs. “Many believe that government spending is a big factor in the current inflation levels. Can you speak to concerns that spending plans that come out of Build Back Better aren’t paid for, and so could mean higher deficits and more inflation in the future.”
Psaki, a little stunned, confirmed she heard correctly: “Aren’t paid for? Build Back Better is paid for.”
The reporter was silent. As time moved on, so did Psaki.
“Entirely,” she added, definitively.
“Okay,” replied the reporter, apparently out of facts and with little understanding of what she was asking. “Can you speak to the concerns that are coming in that it’s not, actually?”
“Who are the concerns from though?” Psaki asked.
“Who’s saying it’s not paid for?” Psaki pressed.
“Because there have been a range of economists saying it’s entirely paid for, and that has been a priority for the President. It has also been concluded by a number of Nobel laureates and experts from a range of economic experts on the outside that it will not contribute to inflation. So those are the global experts that we would point to, but there may be others suggesting something else, but I don’t know who those people are,” she said, allowing the reporter to offer a different response, to possibly retain her dignity.
“So if those bills do pass it will not raise taxes?” the reporter asked, which is an entirely different question.
“Well, something being entirely paid for means that part of that is the highest income Americans highest that companies would be asked to pay a little bit more. That has been part of the proposal and part of reforming the tax system to make it more fair,” Psaki explained.
“So they’re also not expected to contribute to future inflation, then?”
“The Build Back Better Bill? Again, it’s fully paid for, we would point to Nobel laureates and a range of global economists who have conveyed that it would not contribute to inflationary pressures.”
Reporter: Can you speak to concerns that spending plans that come out of BBB aren’t paid for…
Psaki: BBB is paid for
Reporter: Can you speak to the concerns
Psaki: Who are the concerns from though?
Reporter: *silence* pic.twitter.com/PtoEpDXetZ
— Acyn (@Acyn) January 26, 2022
Influential Far Right Conservatives Ballistic Over Breyer Retirement: ‘They Must Be Stopped’
As soon as the news broke that Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer will retire at the end of the current session, right-wing activists began declaring that Breyer had been “bullied” into stepping down and therefore Republicans must do everything they can to block whomever President Joe Biden nominates to fill that seat.
The Left bullied Justice Breyer into retirement and now it will demand a justice who rubber stamps its liberal political agenda. And that’s what the Democrats will give them, because they’re beholden to the dark money supporters who helped elect them.
— Carrie Severino (@JCNSeverino) January 26, 2022
The Left forced Breyer off the Supreme Court and you can be sure they will require Biden to pick an extremist. (Remember, their core goal is to pack the Supreme Court.) Will Republicans play along? pic.twitter.com/b8s2t2kW8Q
— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) January 26, 2022
Penny Nance of Concerned Women for America declared that Biden must use the vacancy to unify the nation by appointing to the court a “constitutionalist” (which is conservative code for “right-wing ideologue”).
Justice Bryer’s retirement is not unexpected. This presents @joebiden a great opportunity to be a unifying force for the nation by appointing a Constitutionalist to SCOTUS. @CWforA will be watching. https://t.co/Waw8gcmkb4 @CWforA @YWforA
— Penny Nance (@PYNance) January 26, 2022
Proclaiming that the Senate is the “our last line of defense against radical leftist SCOTUS justices,” Ohio Republican Senate candidate Josh Mandel used the opportunity to promote his own campaign.
The US Senate is our last line of defense against radical leftist SCOTUS justices.
This isn’t the time to send a squishy establishment RINO to Washington to sit back and sing kumbaya with Democrats and allow Joe Biden to appoint another justice like Kagan or Sotomayor.
— Josh Mandel (@JoshMandelOhio) January 26, 2022
Rep. Lauren Boebert proclaimed that Biden should take a hint from Breyer and “follow him out the door.”
Stephen Breyer is not the retirement we’ve been waiting for.
Biden should follow him out the door.
— Lauren Boebert (@laurenboebert) January 26, 2022
Right-wing activist Brigitte Gabriel openly asserted that it doesn’t even matter whom Biden nominates, “they must be stopped.”
I don’t trust whoever Joe Biden nominates to replace Stephen Breyer.
They must be stopped.
— Brigitte Gabriel (@ACTBrigitte) January 26, 2022
Right-wing commentator Matt Walsh demanded that the position remain vacant until following the midterm elections in November, insisting that “it would be an assault on our democracy” to confirm any nominee before then.
It would be an assault on our democracy to confirm a Supreme Court pick before the midterm elections. Democrats must let the people have their say.
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) January 26, 2022
Taking things a step further, radical Arizona state Sen. Wendy Rogers called on the U.S. Senate to “filibuster, stall, delay and hold Biden’s Supreme Court pick until 2024.”
— Right Wing Watch (@RightWingWatch) January 26, 2022
This article was originally published by Right Wing Watch and is republished here by permission.
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