SCOTUS

Supreme Court To Voting Rights Act: AND STAY DEAD!

IT'S A BAD COURT BRANT.

Yesterday, the US Supreme Court, which loves "state's rights" just as long as you're attacking women's bodily autonomy, trans people, or people of color, decided to jump into Wisconsin's redistricting war. Because why not?

And, of course, this Court is never just going to fuck things up in the normal Republican-evil way of the past. No, they are in the midst of an all-out attack on voting rights — especially for Black and brown Americans. (Full disclosure: In my other life, I'm the Policy Director for Wisconsin Voices and have been working on redistricting and ensuring Black and Brown voices are represented in our state's maps. This is not my first rodeo.)

When this Court goes for it, they really go for it. And so, the Court didn't just issue a stay or decide to hear Wisconsin Legislature v. Wisconsin Elections Commission; in an unsigned opinion, it summarily reversed the Wisconsin Supreme Court's ruling on the state's electoral maps without any argument or briefing on the merits. And in that unsigned opinion, they made it pretty clear that Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act is next on the chopping block.

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lawsplainer

Something Good Happened In Wisconsin?!

Turn around three times, knock wood, and spit!

Wisconsin is going to have halfway decent legislative maps for the first time in over a decade!

Yesterday, the Wisconsin Supreme Court surprised a lot of people, rejecting mega-gerrymandered maps drawn by the Republican legislature, in Johnson v. Wisconsin Elections Commission.

Currently, Wisconsin is one of the most gerrymandered states in the country. And don't worry, we still stay plenty gerrymandered with these new maps. But even this is still a pretty big deal — particularly coming from a state supreme court with a conservative majority that could have used this as an opportunity to create terrible case law for decades to come.


Here’s the background

States have to redraw their political maps every 10 years, after the nation's Census results are released. The last time Wisconsin’s maps were drawn, Scott Walker was governor and Republicans controlled the legislature … you can already see where this is going, right?

Wisconsin ended up with some of the most gerrymandered maps in the country. Multiple courts found them unconstitutional before John Roberts & Co. ruled in Rucho v. Common Cause that partisan gerrymandering is just fine and not something federal courts should bother themselves with, as long as it continues to benefit Republicans.

Here, have a nice infographic about how bad Wisconsin's maps are!


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Trump

Oh, Trump Took Top Secret Documents To Mar-A-Lago? Is There A Phrase For That Do You Suppose?

How about the stuff he flushed?

Golly, who could have predicted this one, except everybody? The Washington Post reports that among the 15 boxes of White House documents the National Archives retrieved from Donald Trump's trash palace, it seems, some of them were clearly marked as "Top Secret." The Post says that, according to "two people familiar with the matter,"

While it was unclear how many classified documents were among those received by the National Archives and Records Administration, some bore markings that the information was extremely sensitive and would be limited to a small group of officials with authority to view such highly classified information[.]

Also too, the people who know what's what said that, as of Thursday afternoon, the FBI had not yet reviewed the classified materials, whatever they are.

It's not clear whether the Justice Department will do a full investigation (honestly, at this point, how could it not?), but at least now the recovered classified documents are "being stored in a sensitive compartmented information facility, also known as an SCIF, while Justice Department officials debated how to proceed," according to the two people in the know. Thank goodness someone's finally protecting those secrets!

FLUSH: Once Again It Comes Back To Trump And A Goddamn Terlet

We'll just assume that while they were kept at Mar-a-Lago for over a year, the sensitive documents may have just sat in storage. Or Trump might have been looking through them for dirt on his political enemies. Most likely, he just used them to build a little fort to hide in.

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Elections

TN Judge Sentences Woman To Six Years For Attempting To Register To Vote While Black

No, a different woman.

A judge in Memphis, Tennessee, threw the book at voting rights activist Pamela Moses this week for the crime of illegally trying to register to vote in 2019. Moses was on probation for a 2015 felony conviction, but says she was never told that the conviction took away her right to vote. What's more, Tennessee state officials admit they made a number of mistakes that led to Moses thinking it was actually legal to vote, although that didn't seem to matter to the prosecutor who pursued the stiffest possible sentence, or to Judge Mark Ward, who insisted that Moses had "tricked" the officials into signing documents saying it was OK for her to vote. On Monday, Ward sentenced Moses to six years and a day in state prison.

Moses has said from the start that she made a mistake, but the state has treated her as the most dangerous frauder that ever tried to steal an election, although she never actually completed the registration process in 2019; her application was denied due to the prior conviction. Moses was convicted in November of "making or consenting to false information on an election document."

Last night on MSNBC, Rachel Maddow contrasted the heavy sentence given to Moses with the slaps on the wrist handed to four white men who deliberately voted fraudulently for Donald Trump in the 2020 election:


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