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Kansas Secretary of State and ugly bag of mostly stupid Kris Kobach has been found in contempt of court by the federal judge who presided over the ACLU's lawsuit against Kansas's voter-suppression law. The trial in that case wrapped up in March, and was immediately followed by a hearing on the ACLU's contempt motion against Kobach for his refusal to comply with a 2016 order in an earlier phase of the case. Yesterday, US District Judge Julie Robinson delivered her decision on the contempt charge, finding Kobach guilty, guilty, guilty of both contempt and general dumbassery.

The contempt charge stems from Kobach's failure to follow Robinson's orders after a May 2016 order putting Kansas’s 2013 voter registration law on hold. The law, which Kobach convinced the state legislature was absolutely necessary to stop voter fraud by thousands of nonexistent non-citizen voters, required all applicants for voter registration to show proof of citizenship -- a birth certificate or passport, not a mere driver's license -- just to register to vote. Robinson enjoined Kobach from enforcing the law, told him he had to register thousands of Kansas voters whose registration was suspended for failure to show "documentary proof of citizenship" (DPOC) when they signed up to vote at the DMV, and instructed that all voters who'd been reinstated to the voting rolls had to be sent a postcard telling them they were registered to vote in the 2016 elections and where their polling places were.

You'd think that would be a fairly easy order to follow, but Kobach's office -- surprise! -- managed not to actually send out the notices. Kobach narrowly avoided a contempt hearing in the fall of 2016 by promising Robinson in a phone conference that he really truly had notified county elections offices to make sure voters were notified, but there was no evidence that the notification postcards actually went out, and in fact, as Robinson points out in her contempt order, one of the plaintiffs in the case, Charles Stricker, testified during the trial last month that when he tried in September 2016 to find out from his county election office whether he could actually vote in the November election,

the person with whom Mr. Stricker spoke stated that he was not sure whether Mr. Stricker would be allowed to vote. Mr. Stricker was told it was complicated because there were legal issues “up in the air.” When Mr. Stricker checked online to see if he was registered, there was no record of his registration.

Robinson rejected Kobach's many attempts to claim, in March's contempt hearing, that her order had been unclear or difficult to follow, largely because he had insisted in so many other hearings that he understood her instructions perfectly. We like the cut of her jib:

Robinson also didn't buy Kobach's attempt to shift blame to the counties for not following his instructions, which he insisted he really had told them to do. For one thing, he's the head elections official in Kansas, and the buck stopped with him. Also, if he really had issued clear orders to the counties, in compliance with the court order, they should have been pretty easy to follow -- it's registration and a postcard, you dip. Oh, yes, and claiming he'd sent clear instructions to the counties, which they failed to follow, rather undercuts his claim that Robinson's order was unclear, and isn't logic a bitch, Mr. Secretary?

Robinson also had little patience for Kobach's claim that "the Court’s orders were ambiguous, dynamic or fluid, and represented continuing changes in rules." Nope, sorry: The only reason she had to issue any follow-up orders at all was that Kobach had failed to comply with her May 2016 order in the first place. The order hadn't changed, but Kobach had certainly done everything he could to leave voters confused about what their status was. Not really a good strategy to tell the judge that her attempts to get him to comply were at fault, dude.

Instead of imposing a fine on Kobach -- who represented the state himself at the trial, and did so very, very poorly -- Robinson ordered him to pay the plaintiffs' legal costs for the expenses of trying to get Kobach to comply with the original order, because if Kobach and his team had actually just done what they were supposed to in the first place, "the Court is confident that Plaintiffs (and the Court) could have avoided significant time and expense in litigating this motion."

Bam. We would just like to note that Judge Julie Robinson, a George W. Bush appointee to the federal bench, is now our official imaginary judiciary girlfriend, not just for the contempt ruling (which we have to say is a remarkably good read, for being a legal order) but also for her refusal throughout last month's trial to put up with Kobach and his team's fumbling attempts at doing law. One moment in particular stands out for us: When a Kobach witness kept trying to talk over the ACLU attorney who was asking him questions, Robinson told him to shut it, if only for the sake of the poor court stenographer:

She can only take down one voice at a time or we’re going to kill her […] And then I’m going to kill everyone else.

Robinson is expected to rule on the actual lawsuit against the Kansas vote-suppression law later this year; given that Kobach and his rogue's gallery of evidence-faking dipshit witnesses were unable to show that non-citizen voters are actually voting or even registered in any substantial numbers, we're betting that ruling will make for a fascinating read as well. And that Kansas is going to have to let people vote, as those crazy old Founders intended.

Kobach, in the meantime, is primarying sitting Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer along with two other no-name candidates; it's unclear whether being shown to be a duplicitous idiot -- Robinson calls him "disingenuous" a couple times -- will even hurt him with Republican voters, because didn't we just say "GOP primary"? If he loses the voter-suppression case, we suppose Kobach could always demand voting rights for fetuses.

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[Kansas City Star / Mother Jones / Jessica Huseman on Twitter / Contempt order in Fish et al v Kobach]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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Ever since Ruth Bader Ginsburg successfully underwent surgery for lung cancer, conservative sites and message boards have been trafficking in a ridiculous theory that she is actually dead and that there is some kind of Weekend at Bernie's-esque conspiracy to pretend she is still alive.

Now, one would think that her recent public appearance at a concert held in her honor would have put this to rest. Alas, it did not. Rather, the "researchers" (as they hilariously call themselves) determined that the concert was actually her funeral.

No. Really. That was a thing.

I admit that I gave this a lot more thought than I should have. Like, how did they think this would go? How long did they imagine this would go on for? Why would they risk having a full on funeral concert, open to the press? Wouldn't they just have not bothered to have a funeral at all? And what did these people think was going to happen when it was announced that she died for real? Or did they think that we were going to pretend that she is immortal and thus never announce her death? It's so confusing!

Being very up to date on the "RBG is secretly dead!" nonsense, I was very curious about which way the "anons" would go with this when they announced her return to work on Friday. They did not disappoint!

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Yesterday afternoon, 45-year-old Gary Martin of Aurora, Illinois was let go from his job at the Henry Pratt Company, a factory that manufactures water valves. In response, he took out a pistol with a laser scope and began shooting at random. He killed five people and injured six others who were just trying to make it through the day at the water valve factory, and then the police killed him.

His mother said he was "stressed out." He "seemed fine" according to the clerk at the Circle K where he bought his cigars that morning. His neighbor thought he was a nice guy. Some people were surprised, others were not.

This kind of thing used to be shocking, but it's a story we're used to now. It gets repeated at least once a month. It's just what happens now, and we can't do anything about it because we can't do anything about gun control. This is, the Right has decided, just the price we all have to pay so they can stockpile guns for funsies, and take sexy pictures of guns shoved in their pants. This is the blood that waters their special tree of liberty.

It's fucking exhausting. And stupid. We shouldn't have to live this way. No one should have to live this way. But we do. Why? Because some day some yahoos might want to overthrow the government, which is (of course) a completely legal thing to do, and their "right" to do that must be protected. So it's literally just never, ever going to stop.

Gary Martin, like most other mass shooters, also had a history of violence against women. In 1994, in Mississippi, he was convicted for stabbing one. He should not have been able to get a gun after that. I would like to know how and why he was able to get that pistol with the laser scope that he killed five people with yesterday afternoon. Maybe someone gave it to him. Maybe he bought it somehow. Maybe someone forgot to do a background check. Maybe he bought it from someone who didn't have to do a background check.

I am so goddamned tired of writing this article. I am out of things to say.

UPDATE:

Martin apparently bought the gun after successfully applying for an Illinois state Firearms ID. That license was revoked after he applied for a concealed carry license and was rejected due to his prior felony conviction in Mississippi, but no one bothered to see if he still had a gun.

Via USA Today:

"During the fingerprinting and background process it was discovered that he had a felony conviction for aggravated assault out of Mississippi," [Police Chief Kristen] Ziman said. "It should be noted that this conviction would not have shown up on a criminal background check conducted for an FOID card."

That seems like it might be a problem, no?

It has also since been revealed that Martin had a domestic battery arrest in 2008 in Aurora.

[Sun-Times]

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