Sometimes That Can Still Make A Difference.
Alarming Report From Federal Civil Rights Commission Finds Minority Voting Rights Are Not Sufficiently Protected…Except…
The United States Commission on Civil Rights has no real power and limited influence. Therefore, the response from Congressional leadership will most likely be to ignore its new 400-page report. And its boldface recommendation that Congress enact legislation to overturn a controversial 2012 Supreme Court decision that ended the requirement for certain states to pre-clear any changes in voting rules with the federal government. That’s led to rampant redistricting and more recently, the closing of lots of polling places.
Why is the bipartisan commission so toothless? In part due to the fact that it’s hardly bipartisan. Although its rules require no more than 4 members of any party be allowed at any one time on the 8 person commission, there’s currently only one Republican. The rest of the non-Democrats are listed as “Independents”. And because commissioners are appointed to 6-year terms, in the years immediately following a two-term Presidency, the entire committee tends to be a vestige of the previous administration. Right now, all of the Presidential appointees are President Obama’s.
In Obama’s early years, two of President Bush’s appointees (who both dropped Republican party affiliation and were nominated to the panel as Independents), used the forum to attack Attorney General Eric Holder and decisions by the Justice Department.
One Of Our Favorite Senators, Ron Wyden, Wants To Make September “National Voting RIghts Month”
What good’ll that do? We normally think Congressional resolutions are just wastes of time. But Wyden is also railing against voter suppression, and since Republican Leadership doesn’t seem inclined to do anything about it, raising awareness may be the best he can do right now. So why not?
We think Wyden might do a little better with something he’s also been in front of the pack on. And that’s an effort to mandate paper ballots for federal elections. (That doesn’t mean a return to hanging chads, just that there’ll be a paper backup even if the process is mostly automated).
We think the Oregon Democrat may end up prevailing on that issue. Not in time for this year’s midterms, but maybe for the Presidential elections in 2020. Because it’s going to be hard for Republicans to continue to argue against it. Especially if Republicans (and the President) truly believe there’s massive voter fraud in this country, and it’s not just a ploy to suppress votes, they should support paper backup ballots, because it’d help them prove that fraud as well as safeguard against any interference by foreign governments or entities.
And Should Democrats Roll Over Just Because They Can’t Beat Mitch McConnell At His Personal “Game Of Thrones”?
According to Politico, the Senate Majority Leader will keep the chamber in session throughout the month of October in order to slam through as many of President Trump’s Conservative judicial nominees as possible. It’s an astounding number: he aims to have a vote on 44 more District Court judges, 4 Circuit Court judges and Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. That’s on top of the 26 circuit court and 41 district court nominees, plus Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, who have already been elevated to lifetime positions. Democrats do not have the votes to ultimately block any of these nominees, but they can slow them down and make a lot of noise.
McConnell’s is a particularly dastardly move at this time, since it hamstrings a bunch of Democratic Senators who would otherwise be on the campaign trail because they’re up for reelection in early November. Due to a weird election season for the Senate, there are many more incumbent Democrats up for reelection this year than Republicans, so a lack of campaigning is likely to hurt Democrats more. (Unlike the House, where every Representative is up for reelection every 2 years, Senators serve a 6 year term, with about 1/3 running each time there’s a federal election).
McConnell did the same thing in August, cancelling scheduled vacation/campaign time in order to get judicial nominees through. In the end, Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer blinked, and agreed to let McConnell “have” some judges who are considered relatively non-controversial in exchange for a few days of campaign time. We and others took Schumer to task for that, because even among that relatively “non-controversial” group we found one who ranted that the New Orleans based 5th Circuit Court was engaged in a “war against religion”, and other who was rated “Unqualified” by the American Bar Association, apparently because of a chronic problem showing up for work on time.
Of course Republicans have to campaign too, and Senator Ted Cruz missed a lot of votes in August, meaning due to the slim Republican majority in the Senate, McConnell has to lay everything out very carefully or he might get caught short. But of course McConnell’s a master of this, so that’s not likely to happen. In fact, McConnell’s working hard to make sure he doesn’t end up in the same dark alley Democrats ended up in after he blocked President Obama from putting his Supreme Court nominee through before the 2016 President Election. He knows how fickle the electorate can be; he’ll leave nothing to chance.
Since there is no way for Democrats to ultimately prevail in this effort, except to win back the Senate in November and block some nominees going forward, for now, please just raise some hell!