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OPINION

‘Two Gut Punches to Democracy’: Legal and Voting Rights Experts Blast Supreme Court’s ‘Very, Very Bad’ Decisions

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‘Grave Peril’

Chief Justice John Roberts let the U.S. Supreme Court’s calendar slip into July, to allow time to hand down decisions in two cases that history may see as especially critical to the future of actual democracy in America, or rather, to ending actual democracy in America.

Legal and voting rights experts blasted the Roberts Court’s final decisions of the October 2020 term.

On Thursday the Court’s six conservative justices, five of whom were appointed by Republican presidents who had not won the popular vote when they entered the White House, joined together against the remaining three liberal justices, to make it even harder to vote, to make dark money even more prevalent in American elections, and to warn those who are fighting for the right to vote to not challenge the current slate of voter restriction laws sweeping the country.

As The New York Times put it, one of Thursday’s decisions was “a test of what remains of the Voting Rights Act,” declaring the Supreme Court today “suggested that challenges to many new measures making it harder to vote may not be successful.”

Ari Berman, one of America’s voting rights experts and author of “Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America,” expressed frustration after the day’s decisions were handed down.

Is Berman being hyperbolic?

Hardly.

Ezra Klein, in his New York Times opinion piece Thursday titled “The Rest of the World Is Worried About America,” spoke to scholars of democracy from other countries.

“I’m positive that American democracy is not what Americans think it is,” David Altman, a political scientist in Chile, told me. “There is a cognitive dissonance between what American citizens believe their institutions are and what they actually are.”

Klein puts a somewhat optimistic spin, if that’s possible, on the state of democracy in America, or at least, its future, but it’s impossible to dismiss this:

“The thing that makes me really worried is how similar what’s going on in the U.S. looks to a series of countries in the world where democracy has really taken a big toll and, in many cases, died,” Staffan Lindberg, a Swedish political scientist who directs the Varieties of Democracy Institute, said. “I’m talking about countries like Hungary under Orban, Turkey in the early days of Erdogan’s rule, Modi in India, and I can go down the line.”

But back to today’s SCOTUS decisions.

Here’s what other experts are saying.

Elie Mystal, a frequent guest on MSNBC and the Justice Correspondent at The Nation writes (or, appropriately, screams):

Berman had more to say:

Rick Hasen, one of the nation’s top election law experts and a Professor of Law and Political Science at UC Irvine, sums up today’s decision in the voting restriction case as “something very, very bad”:

“The Supreme Court, in a 6-3 decision, has severely weakened Section 2 of the Voting rights Act as a tool to fight against laws that make it harder to register and vote,” he adds.

Sam Levine, Voting rights reporter at The Guardian:

And Mark Joseph Stern, who writes on the law and the courts for Slate, declared the Court handed down “two gut punches to democracy.”

 

 

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OPINION

Watch: Fox News Attacks Biden for Not ‘Condemning’ Will Smith

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Unemployment has dropped so low there are now five million more job openings than unemployed Americans. The stock market continues to rebound from the drops it suffered when Russian President Vladimir Putin started his illegal war against Ukraine. COVID hospitalizations and deaths continue to drop. President Biden has regained America’s place as the leader of the free world, and Russia is in such desperate straits some believe Putin’s reign is coming to an end.

Donald Trump’s fate and the fate of some of his top aides and allies look increasingly dire as bombshell after bombshell drop, sometimes more than one a day, and to some it may appear Trump and Putin will be removed from the public stage at some point in the near future.

And while the price of gas is still a topic of conversation and inflation is the latest boogeyman, the Fox News-GOP partnership is running out of crises to wave in front of their base, so they’ve now returned to manufacturing them.

On Wednesday an unknown reporter asked Biden’s Director of Communications Kate Bedingfield if the White House “condones” the “level of violence” Will Smith “unleashed” on Chris Rock at the Oscars.

Fox News propagandists Harris Faulkner and Pete Hegseth jumped on that question – one that was roundly denounced the moment it was asked by many on social media.

“This White House is creating confusion,” said Fox News’ Pete Hegseth Wednesday, out of nowhere.

“And this is what I said yesterday,” Harris Faulkner replied, “with all the things that we have going on, even there – but our inflation, here are our crime here with everything we have going on, please stop making all of us focus on what he’s focused on, which is not being clear,” she said, falsely claiming Biden cannot communicate.

Faulkner is demanding the President of the United States not set the agenda for the country, a remarkable demand after four-plus years of his predecessor’s every thought receiving microscopic attention.

“Alright, I want to get to this because it is now beyond the Oscars. This this is a bigger situation now with Will Smith and Chris Rock, it’s opened a door on, you know, what do we want our kids to see? Who do we want our society to look like?” she added strangely. “It is a bigger thing.”

“The White House now has refused to comment or condemn Will Smith for smacking Chris Rock across the face at the Oscars,” Faulkner announced, because this White House has a policy, set by President Biden, of staying focused and not getting swept up in every minute scandal or social media sensation.

Even the video clip Faulkner showed includes Bedingfield saying President Biden didn’t watch the Oscars so they have no comment. The White House did not “refuse to condemn” anything, they just didn’t have a comment.

“The President was not able to watch the Oscars,” Bedingfield told the errant reporter. “Didn’t see it. So I don’t have anything. I don’t have any official comment from him or from the White House on this.”

Pete Hegseth, who it should be noted has (or at least, had) a policy of not washing his hands because he cannot see germs, weighed in:

“The White House has had no problem condemning issues of less consequence inside our culture. Clearly, they are copping out on this one.”

Watch:

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OPINION

Former Trump Official Claims Biden Choosing First Black Woman Justice Bars ‘Hispanics, Asians and Gays’

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A highly-controversial former Trump official is claiming President Joe Biden’s promise to seat the first Black woman on the U.S. Supreme Court is discriminatory.

Richard Grenell, who served as Trump’s Acting Director of National Intelligence, and as Trump’s  Ambassador to Germany, was seen by at least one lawmaker in Berlin as a “biased propaganda machine.” On Thursday Grenell attacked President Biden by attacking another Democrat, former White House Press Secretary Joe Lockhart.

Lockhart served as President Bill Clinton’s White House Press Secretary. On Thursday he tweeted, “Ahead of the midterms, I look forward to watching every Republican Senator oppose the first black woman to the Supreme Court.”

Earlier in the day Grenell posted a similar tweet:

Conservatives, including on the far right which Grenell has been accused of having ties to, have been falsely claiming it’s “racist” to choose a Supreme Court Justice who is Black and a woman.

Those same conservatives are apparently ignorant of the fact that smart presidents, like smart managers, create a Supreme Court team. There’s no such things as “the most qualified,” nor is there any way, any right way, to measure. Presidents, smart presidents, want justices who are young so they can have a decades-long impact on the nation and its future. They want great minds who are able to work behind the scenes to win over their colleagues. And, unlike Republicans, they want justices who have the lived experiences of more and more Americans –because the law is not stagnant, despite what the originalists and textualists falsely claim.

Here’s Grenell, attacking President Biden through Lockhart:

Some responses to Grenell’s tweet:

 

 

 

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OPINION

‘Never Forget’: Critics Blast ‘Senator Sedition Fist’ Josh Hawley on Anniversary of His Fox News Insurrection Threat

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U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO), whose fist-in-the-sky photo taken in front of the Capitol January 6 became emblematic of Donald Trump’s insurrection, is being raked over the coals as Americans remember the threat he delivered in a Fox News interview just one year ago today.

Here he is, talking on January 4 last year with Fox News’ Bret Baier, who bluntly told him “Congress doesn’t have the right to overturn” the election.

Hawley then countered with a misreading of the Constitution, but his claim that Trump could remain president depending “on what happens on Wednesday,” January 6, is to many chilling:

That video, first posted one year ago today, has gone viral:

“Never forget exactly 1 year ago today, Josh Hawley was on Fox spreading the big lie for Trump,” wrote on social media user. “He’s as guilty as anyone when it comes to the insurrection & if we lose the house in ’22, people like this Hitler wannabee will be first in line to overthrow democracy.”

“Hard to believe Senator Sedition Fist, aka Josh Hawley, is still a sitting Senator after this,” said another.

Other responses include:

“Josh Hawley is a dangerous fascist and he needs to answer for his crimes from January 6th.”

“Raise your hand if Josh Hawley is a seditious traitor who should be expelled from Congress ASAP!”

“We don’t talk about it enough, but Josh Hawley attempted to stop the certification of a presidential election and incited the attack on the U.S. Capitol.”

“A year isn’t enough time to forget that Josh Hawley (along with Grassley, Cruz, and others) spread misinformation about the election and even made statements implying that they expected it to be overturned. All of them traitors!”

A few more:

 

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