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Obama Head of DOJ Civil Rights Division: ‘Pence and Kobach Are Laying the Groundwork for Voter Suppression’



Kobach Wants Every Registered Voter’s Name, Address, Date of Birth, Party Registration, Social Security Information, Voting History, Felony Convictions, Military Status, and Overseas Citizen Information


Vanita Gupta, President Barack Obama’s former head of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, says Vice President Mike Pence and Trump’s Election Integrity Commission Vice Chair, Kris Kobach, are “laying the groundwork for voter suppression.”

There are a few facts you probably need to know first.

  • Kris Kobach (photo) is the Secretary of State of Kansas. He is also the attorney for an anti-immigrant hate group.
  • President Trump’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity is entirely made up. It is not a commission that has ever existed before. It was made up to prove Trump’s false claims about millions of people voting illegally. Now it’s going to be used for nationwide voter suppression.

  • Kobach has a program called Crosscheck that he claims cuts down on voter fraud. Citing a New York Times report The Nation’s Ari Berman says that program “leads to 200 fake cases of double voting for every every double vote found.”
  • Kobach, responsible for Arizona’s “show me your papers” law, claims voter fraud is rampant. The Daily Beast describes him as “one of the nation’s loudest voices demanding restrictive voting laws.”
  • Kobach thinks 3.2 million non-U.S. citizens voted in 2016.
  • The Kansas City Star (one of the largest papers in Kobach’s home state) calls him “a big fraud” on voter fraud claims.

That should be enough background for now.

Now back to Vanita Gupta, Obama’s Civil Rights who posted a letter sent to every Secretary of State in all 50 states (himself included, presumably) on Wednesday, requesting every registered voter’s first and last name, address, date of birth, party registration, social security information, voting history, felony convictions, military status, and overseas citizen information.

Imagine all that data living in one place, and Kris Kobach having control over it.

But that nightmare scenario aside, consider this: ThinkProgress today reports Kobach’s efforts have a “huge potential to disenfranchise many legitimate voters.”

The report from ThinkProgress explains that in Kobach’s home state of Kansas, his office “has used an arsenal of intrusive methods to find alleged non-citizen voters, according to an internal document obtained exclusively by ThinkProgress in April. In one case, Kobach’s office compared voter rolls to a list of temporary drivers licenses issued to non-citizens. It also commissioned two outside firms to poll non-citizens about their voting habits using drivers’ license information and other data, and it asked the Department of Homeland Security to compare a list of suspected non-citizen voters against its list of naturalized citizens.”

In a statement Connecticut Secretary of State Denise Merrill noted “Kobach has a lengthy record of illegally disenfranchising eligible voters in Kansas.”

“The courts have repudiated his methods on multiple occasions but often after the damage has been done to voters. Given Secretary Kobach’s history we find it very difficult to have confidence in the work of this Commission,” Merrill added.

Also on Wednesday, as ThinkProgress reports, “the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division sent election officials in some states a request for policies and procedures about how they maintain their voting rolls—part of its enforcement of the National Voter Registration Act and the Help America Vote Act.”

ProPublica senior reporting fellow Jessica Huseman posted the request:

Bottom line: (1) Contact your state’s Secretary of State to let them know you oppose them sharing any state data with Kobach’s Election Integrity Commission. (2) Contact your local voter registration office in writing and ensure they respond, in writing, confirming you are registered to vote, and that your home address and party affiliation are accurate. (3) Make sure everyone you know – friends, family members, work associates – do the same.

If you think you can ignore Kobach’s efforts and everything will be fine, read these excerpts from the New York Times’ profile on Kobach, then read the full article:

To comment on this article and other NCRM content, visit our Facebook page. 

Image by AndrewRosenthal via Flickr and a CC license 

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‘Oddest’: Legal Experts Mock Trump’s ‘Nutty’ and ‘Doomed to Fail’ Emergency Supreme Court Motion



It weighs in at 240 pages but legal experts are still mocking Donald Trump’s emergency petition to the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn an 11th Circuit Court ruling and allow the special master to continue to inspect the 103 classified documents retrieved from him Mar-a-Lago home.

“Oddest SCOTUS petition. Very technical and not terribly logical,” observed Andrew Weissmann, an NYU School of Law law professor and former DOJ official who served as the General Counsel for the Federal Bureau of Investigation and as special counsel to then-FBI Director Robert Mueller.

The motion was addressed to Justice Clarence Thomas,  who oversees the 11th Circuit courts. His wife, Ginni Thomas, is an avowed supporter of Trump and his “Big Lie” claims he won the 2020 election.

READ MORE: Trump Asks Supreme Court to Intervene for Him in Classified Documents Case

“SCOTUS should send him packing,” tweets former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, now an MSNBC/NBC News legal analyst. “No surprise here, this was why he paid former Florida Solicitor General Chris Kise $3 million to sign on, no one else on his team could handle this.”

“Just watch SCOTUS turn Trump down 9-0. (Or 8-1 if Thomas dissents . . . ),” writes retired Harvard professor of law Laurence Tribe. “Will The Donald start calling ‘his’ three justices traitors? Will he say they have a ‘death wish’ as he did with McConnell?”

Weissmann took another hit at Trump’s Lawsuit, declaring it “nutty.”

“Trump argument to SCOTUS: 11th circuit had power to stay Cannon decision BUT it [could] not take the classified docs away from SM Dearie review. Nutty and if he won Dearie wd just say he won’t review the docs bc they are not Trump’s.”

University of Texas School of Law professor of law Steve Vladeck says that while the lawsuit is “not *entirely* laughable,” but he thinks “it’s both (1) doomed to fail; and (2) unlikely to accomplish much even if it succeeds.”

Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti says, “I would not be surprised if the Supreme Court decides not to hear it.”




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Trump Asks Supreme Court to Intervene for Him in Classified Documents Case



Donald Trump on Tuesday petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene in his classified documents case, and reverse a ruling from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals that allowed the U.S. Dept. of Justice access to the more than 100 classified and top secret documents federal agents recovered from his Mar-a-Lago residence and resort.

Trump is asking the nation’s highest court to order a special master to continue to inspect the 103 classified documents, despite the special master emphatically stating the government, not Trump, gets to decide what is classified and what is not, especially when Trump refused to provide a list of what he considered declassified.

The lawsuit, which is a massive 240 pages, mostly made up of other documents including the now infamous FBI photo of the classified documents on the Mar-a-Lago rug, is addressed to “The Honorable Clarence Thomas, Circuit Justice for the Eleventh Circuit,” and refers to the former president as “President Trump.”

The lawsuit also mentions the contents that federal agents took, including “89 empty envelopes,” while not noting they were classified document envelopes.

“As part of the 11th Circuit’s decision, the panel allowed the criminal investigation to use the seized documents, something [Judge] Cannon had previously barred,” The Washington Post notes. “Trump’s filing seeks only to reverse the appeals court’s ruling on the special master’s access to the documents, not the part of the decision concerning the investigation.”

This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. 

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Biden Will Include DeSantis in His Visit to Support Florida Hurricane Victims



President Joe Biden will travel to Florida Wednesday to support families devastated by Hurricane Ian, and will include the state’s GOP governor, Ron DeSantis, in his trip, the White House announced Tuesday.

Last week, asked if he would meet with DeSantis, a top detractor of the president, Biden told a reporter who asked, “I’ll meet with everybody who’s around. The answer is yes, if he wants to meet.”

“This is not about anything having to do with our disagreements politically, this is about saving people’s lives, homes and businesses,” Biden also said last week.

DeSantis asked President Biden for financial assistance for his state, battered by what experts say is one of the worst hurricanes in U.S. history. DeSantis voted against relief aid for victims of Hurricane Sandy when he served in Congress.

President Biden and the First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden, will travel via Air Force One to Fort Myers, one of the hardest-hit areas of Florida by Hurricane Ian.

READ MORE: Watch: 2024 Presidential Hopeful Ron DeSantis Says ‘Cause for Concern Cause’ With Democrats Moving to Florida

But Fort Myers is also part of Lee County, where officials delayed evacuation orders.

“Lee County, which includes the hard-hit seaside community of Fort Myers Beach, as well as the towns of Fort Myers, Sanibel and Cape Coral, did not issue a mandatory evacuation order for the areas likely to be hardest hit until Tuesday morning, a day after several neighboring counties had ordered their most vulnerable residents to flee,” The New York Times reported. “By then, some residents recalled that they had little time to evacuate.”

“Lee County, which includes the hard-hit seaside community of Fort Myers Beach, as well as the towns of Fort Myers, Sanibel and Cape Coral, did not issue a mandatory evacuation order for the areas likely to be hardest hit until Tuesday morning, a day after several neighboring counties had ordered their most vulnerable residents to flee,” the Times added. “By then, some residents recalled that they had little time to evacuate.”

The St. Louis Post Dispatch blasted the Florida GOP governor, calling his “flip-flop on hurricane relief” a “study in right-wing hypocrisy.”

READ MORE: ‘Premeditated, Fraudulent, and Illegal’: Asylum Seekers Sue DeSantis After Being Sent to Martha’s Vineyard

“DeSantis’ willingness to shelve his usual attacks on the Biden administration to politely request emergency federal aid in the wake of Hurricane Ian is an inspiring example of constructive bipartisanship — as is Biden’s announcement that the government will bear a big part of the expense,” the Dispatch Editorial Board stated. “It’s interesting, though, that DeSantis took exactly the opposite stance a decade ago when he joined other hard-right members of Congress who argued against generous federal recovery aid when Hurricane Sandy ravaged the Northeast.”

Over the weekend DeSantis was blasted by volunteer relief aid workers who were delayed for hours in distributing “food, water, medicine, diapers, and anything else people needed” so Gov. DeSantis could get a photo-op.


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