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Courts

Meet Neomi Rao, Your New Brett Kavanaugh. No, Not That Way.

Not an accused rapist. Just very understanding of them.

While all the usual terribleness rolls on, so does the greatest single project of Donald Trump and the Republicans: filling the federal courts with so many rightwing judges that even if the country elects Democrats for the next 30 years, there'll be at least an even chance that progressive legislation may be declared null and void in the name of "individual freedom." Forget that they're no good at passing laws; the Republicans are confirming virtually every last incompetent stooge the Federalist Society can dredge up.

Consider Neomi Rao, Trump's nominee to fill the seat on the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit left vacant when Brett Kavanaugh boofed his way onto the Supreme Court. Rao has never been a judge, so let's put her on the most important stopping points before the Supremes. And hey, she even has a history of problematic writings in college, not unlike another Trump appointee, Ryan Bounds, whose nomination failed when Tim Scott and Marco Rubio withdrew their support. Not this time: All the Republicans in the Senate voted to move Rao's nomination forward yesterday, and she's expected to win final confirmation today.

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Courts

Texas Gov Knows Who F*cked Up His 'Illegals Voting' Scam, And It Was ... NOT THE DEMS????

Greg Abbott, we don't even know you anymore.

Texas's great big hunt to manufacture some outrage over "legal aliens illegally registered to vote" started falling apart almost as soon as it was announced, since it was based on bad assumptions and bad use of data. Secretary of State David Whitley breathlessly announced in January his office had compiled a list of 98,000 registered voters listed as non-citizens by the Department of Public Safety (DPS), which runs the driver's license office. Worse, since 1996, some 58,000 of 'em had voted!!! Wingnut media and Donald Trump took to wailing about voter fraud even as nit-pickers pointed out the data was crap, because the DPS only had records on people who said they weren't citizens when they applied for a driver's license or photo ID. Tons of people on the list actually been naturalized citizens later, and were completely legal to vote. In fact, as three federal lawsuits against the fake list of suspicious voters have proceeded, DPS officials have said 25,000 people on the list had already proven they were citizens when Whitley's office released it. Long story short, it's a massive clusterfuck that's proving to be a huge embarrassment to both Whitley and to Gov. Greg Abbott, who appointed Whitley to the post in December.

And now that Whitley is facing a very difficult confirmation fight in the state Senate (yeah, he's been in the job with no "acting" title; we dunno, it's fucking Texas), Abbott has finally taken a brave stance on who's responsible for the embarrassing fucktangle: Not Whitley, who did the shitty "analysis," but DPS chief Steve McCraw, for generating the data in the first place. This is a bit of a problem since, as the invaluable Texas Tribune reports, DPS made clear to the SecState's office the data was flawed from the get-go.

Still, Abbot makes a compelling case, if by "compelling" you mean he's good at pointing anywhere but his shit-covered appointee and yelling "SOMETHING STINKS!"

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Post-Racial America

Domestic Terrorist Coast Guard Man Just Wanted To Cleanse Nation Of Its Enemies (Reporters And Democrats), And Everyone Else

Thank goodness all hate crime reports are fake, huh?

A US Coast Guard lieutenant who served in the service's Washington DC headquarters has been arrested and accused of domestic terrorism after law enforcement nabbed him Friday on gun and narcotics charges. A court document filed Tuesday says the initial charges against Christopher Paul Hasson are only the "proverbial tip of the iceberg," because the "defendant is a domestic terrorist, bent on committing acts dangerous to human life." Fortunately for everyone, in addition to being a self-proclaimed white nationalist who wanted to commit "focused violence" to bring about a white "homeland," Hasson was also a fucking idiot. He kept some of his planning for a massive attack on civilians, including a target list of media and political figures to assassinate, on his work computer. Yet another reason GOOD citizens only read Wonkette at work.

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Cops Behaving Badly

SCOTUS Rules Cops Can't Seize Your Sh*t Like Common Gangsters

RBG helps put smackdown on civil asset forfeiture.

The Supreme Court has pulled the plug on what was proving to be a gross but lucrative side hustle for law enforcement. In a unanimous decision, the Court ruled that the Constitution's ban on excessive fines applies to individual states, as well.

Tyson Timbs, of Marion, Indiana, is a self-described "former heroin junkie." He pleaded guilty five years ago to selling $260 worth of heroin. The government seized his $42,000 Land Rover through the process of "civil asset forfeiture" or, in layman's terms, state-sanctioned piracy. Timbs was not a criminal mastermind. He only sold drugs twice, both times to cops. He bought the Land Rover with money from his late father's insurance policy. Yes, he used the car to buy drugs but even so, the maximum fine by Indiana law for his crimes was $10,000.

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Courts

Government: Reuniting All The Kids We Stole Would Make The Children Sad :(

Yet more weaponized incompetence.

In court filings Friday, the federal government argued that even though a recent government report stated that many more children were taken from their parents at the border than have been accounted for, trying to reunite all of them with their parents would be a heck of a lot of work, and taking them away from their new homes would be disruptive, so it would be best just to leave things as they are.

What, you don't agree?

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Courts

We're Not Even Going To Say What This Kansas Judge Did In The Headline, Because UGHHHHH

Sorry, don't mean to clickbait you, but UGHHHHH.

A disgusting, gross 67-year-old man from Leavenworth, Kansas, was convicted last year for soliciting sex from young girls through Facebook. Raymond Soden exchanged messages with a 13-year-old girl and offered her money for nude photos of herself and for physical sex acts. Soden was not confused and merely thought he was chatting up a kinky senior citizen online. He knew the girl was 13.

Soden should rightly spend the rest of his twisted life behind bars. He had two prior convictions, one for battery and the other for sexual battery. The prosecution argued for a somewhat-fitting 13 years in prison, in keeping with state guidelines. District Court Judge Michael Gibbens instead sentenced Soden to just five years and 10 months. Soden's current victims might be old enough to vote then.

Kansas state law required that Gibbens have "compelling" reasons for his softball sentence, and Gibbens's rationale is almost as sick as Soden is. He claims that Soden's victims were partly to blame for what happened. He wasn't even convinced they'd actually been harmed all that much.

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Russia

Brokaw Palace

Sunday show rundown a day late, some dollars short!

It's your friendly neighborhood Sunday Show Rundown, which Rebecca forgot to post yesterday, and she has no idea how that happened. Today features one political supervillain and one "banality of evil" villain, so let's dive in.

We begin with former Trump campaign advisor, South Florida lowlife, and soon to be federal inmate Roger Stone.

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Courts

US Convicts Radical Water-Givers In 2017 Immigrant Not-Killing Spree

Saving lives? Why do you hate America?

In a federal court in Tucson on Friday, four Arizona activists with the group "No More Deaths" were convicted on an assortment of charges related to entering a wildlife refuge to leave water and food for undocumented immigrants. The four women were arrested by a US Fish and Wildlife officer in August 2017 after they'd left the supplies in the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge in southwestern Arizona; it's among the deadliest stretches of desert on the US-Mexico border. They face a maximum penalty of six months in federal prison and fines of $500 each for their acts of premeditated lifesaving, the Arizona Republic reports.

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lawsplainer

Mick Mulvaney Took An Old Man's Money For 'Land Deal' Too? Just The One?

By Trump standards he's practically a choir boy!

Donald Trump's budget director, acting chief of staff, former acting CFPB director, and general taker-of-shitty-jobs-Jared-doesn't-want Mick Mulvaney is maybe in some hot water, or would be if Team Trump hadn't scissored "ethics" out of all White House guidelines. You see, the Washington Post published a great big exposé yesterday about some shady maneuvers by Mulvaney, following a South Carolina land deal that went south (as it were) over a decade ago. As with virtually all real estate fuckery, it's a bit complex, but the upshot is that it sure looks like companies owned by Mulvaney made some very creative moves to avoid paying back an old man whose family firm loaned Mulvaney $1.4 million, a debt that, with interest, now amounts to $2.5 million.

Oh, and then Mulvaney allegedly misled the Senate about the debt during his 2017 confirmation hearings, claiming the issue was all in the past and not disputed. Funny thing! The guy who made the loan was and is still very much suing Mulvaney in South Carolina.

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Crime

Sorry, Sovereign Citizens, The Government Won't Buy You A Bitchin' Camaro

And demanding the government buy you one isn't a 'quirky protest,' it's fraud.

The crazies of the "sovereign citizens" movement don't believe in the legitimacy of the government, and make up all sorts of weirdass pseudo-legal arguments to explain why they don't have to pay taxes, register their cars, or pay their debts. Courts have long refused to put up with their bullshit, but they keep filing fake lawsuits, and sometimes try to "arrest" government officials so they can be tried in a fake court. So it was pretty weird to see Bloomberg News run an op-ed last week by Harvard law professor Noah Feldman arguing that a sovereign citizen's conviction on charges of attempting to defraud the government was actually a very worrisome infringement on the wingnut's "free speech." Worse, Feldman's column has been widely syndicated, so a whole lot of people are now persuaded that sovereign citizens are merely victims of a government witch hunt against their "quirky protest" methods.

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News

Ruth Bader Ginsburg Too Busy For Cancer, Already Back At Work, F*CKIN' TOLD Y'ALL SO

Now go forth and have a happy The Holidays!

WHAT DID WE SAY? Ah, we remember it well, because it was just Friday! We had just heard news that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had undergone surgery to remove two malignant nodes on one of her lungs, and everybody was like OMG DO NOT DIE, JUSTICE GINSBURG, YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO DIE! PLEASE ACCEPT AS MANY OF MY LUNGS AS YOU WOULD LIKE AND ALSO TELL ME YOU'LL BE OK!

And we said that sure, it's scary to hear that news, especially for the justice herself, since it's her health we are talking about after all. We also said that she is a tough woman, she's healthier than you are (fact), and that she would be back to bench pressing YOUR DAD within days.

Were we right? Pffffffft, when is Wonkette not right?

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Post-Racial America

Judge Who Was Mean To Michael Flynn Also Won't Let Trump Be Fascist Dickhead. Unfair!

Once again the courts say knock it off with the fuckery, you.

In what could be a big blow to Donald Trump's attempts to end asylum as we know it, a federal judge in Washington DC has overturned a rule aimed at excluding victims of domestic violence or gangs from seeking asylum in the US. Wednesday's ruling by DC District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan is one more case of the judiciary reminding Trump the executive branch can't just ignore immigration laws passed by Congress, thanks. Sullivan has had a busy week -- he's the same judge who told Michael Flynn to take his "I WUZ FRAMED" bullshit and ram it right up his Deep State. With his ruling telling the administration it just can't make shit up to please Stephen Miller, Judge Sullivan wins the week.

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Russia

'So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish.' Wonkagenda For Thurs., Dec 20, 2018

A Category 5 Shitstorm in Syria, and a Florida Man crowdfunds The Wall. Your morning news brief!

Morning Wonketariat! Here's some of the things we may be talking about today.

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SCOTUS

Stephen Miller Puts New Coat Of Paint (HAIR PAINT) On His Sh*tty Racist Ideas

Dude, no. Just no.

Hello Wonks! Welcome to the Sunday Rundown!, where we look at all the stupid, dumb and outrageous lies people say on the Sunday shows. Rudy Giuliani went batshit crazy on pretty much all the shows, which earned him his own column by Wonkette's Five Dollar Feminist. Herein, we'll look at all the rest of the Sunday fuckery!

Let's focus on the second worst/stupidest person on this Sunday's shows, current Trump adviser and former Time Wraith Stephen Miller.

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News

Court Rules Betsy DeVos Must Stop Being Asshole

At least as far as forgiving defrauded students their loan debts goes!

Thursday, the Trump administration decided out of the goodness of its court-ordered heart to follow Obama-era policy and cancel thousands of borrowers' federal student loans. This was a bummer for so-called Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who had fought against protections for student loan borrowers because she (allegedly) gets off on watching people go bankrupt like some Disney villain. A federal judge ruled in September that her efforts to stop the "borrower defense" regulations from taking effect were illegal. DeVos will have to take comfort now in one of her 17 yachts and her Tim Burton-designed summer house.

These borrowers aren't, as Fox News might lead you to believe, avoiding repayment of the loans they took out to study advanced pottery and women's "herstory." Most of these borrowers were affected by school closures or outright defrauded by a lousy for-profit "college." The Education Department today will start notifying around 15,000 borrowers that they qualify for loan discharges. The debt totals approximately $150 million, or about four of DeVos's best yachts.

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Courts

Trump Pretty Sure Supreme Court Will Let Him Screw Asylum-Seekers, You'll See

Not yet threatening to tear-gas any 'Obama judges.'

Since the courts keep telling him he can't actually rewrite US immigration law all by himself, Donald Trump has asked the Supreme Court to swoop in and review his idiotic asylum ban, which attempts to bar anyone crossing the border outside official ports of entry from qualifying for asylum. Lower courts have held that until the matter is resolved, the administration can't put the new restrictions into effect, and even Trump's own immigration bureaucracy is unsure how to implement the policy, but Trump really wants to screw asylum-seekers, since that's the only thing that can help his supporters get it up.

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