Judicial Crisis Network Sends Misleading Texts in Indiana Supporting Confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh

IndyStar:

Jeff Gleason of Fort Wayne was surprised when he received a text Tuesday encouraging him to call Sen. Joe Donnelly in support of President Trump’s newly announced Supreme Court nominee.

The text seemed odd because Gleason, who works for the steelworkers union, doesn’t like what he’s heard about Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s record on workers’ issues, so he wasn’t sure why he was getting the prompt.

Gleason was even more confused when he called the phone number that appeared to have sent the text – and heard a recorded message from Donnelly thanking him for calling his Senate office.

“I was shocked,” Gleason said. “I knew Sen. Donnelly hadn’t released a position.”

The text hadn’t, in fact, come from Donnelly’s office, but from the Judicial Crisis Network, one of the conservative groups campaigning for Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

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Georgetown Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection: “ex-CYBERSECURITY officials: CENSUS Bureau must address hacking concerns”

Via email:

On the heels of new indictments of Russians for hacking the 2016 election, former cybersecurity officials are warning that the nation’s “foundation for fair and just elections” — the Census — could be ripe for hacking.

Despite repeated calls from Congress and the public, the Census Bureau has yet to confirm that basic cybersecurity measures are in place for the nation’s first electronic census in 2020 — according to leading cybersecurity experts.

In a new letter coordinated by Georgetown Law’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection, former White House, DHS, FBI, NSA, DOJ, ODNI, and State Department cyber and technology officials call on the Census Bureau to share publicly its cybersecurity preparations for the 2020 Census.

 

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“FBI Official Overseeing Election-Meddling Task Force Has Left”

WSJ:

A senior FBI official overseeing a government task force that addresses Russian attempts to meddle in U.S. elections has left the government for a job in the private sector, a departure that comes just months ahead of the 2018 midterm contests.

Jeffrey Tricoli had been coleading the FBI foreign influence task force until June, when he left government work for a senior vice president job at Charles Schwab Corp. , the company confirmed.

Mr. Tricoli, an 18-year veteran of the FBI who became a section chief of the bureau’s cyber division in December 2016, didn’t respond to requests for comment sent to his personal email and LinkedIn account. An FBI spokeswoman declined to comment on Mr. Tricoli’s status, saying the Bureau doesn’t discuss personnel matters.

The reason for Mr. Tricoli’s departure wasn’t clear. But it adds to questions among some tech companies and lawmakers about how much the administration, and the task force in particular, are doing to protect future elections from Russian meddling.

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“Why the Measure to Split California Into Three Could be Blocked by a Court Before It Appears on the Ballot”

Vik Amar for Justia:

Among the legal stumbling blocks currently being talked about is the California Constitution’s vexing distinction that I analyzed in detail (in the two postings linked above) between so-called “amendments” to and “revisions” of the document. I continue to believe that Cal3 represents a revision that requires the legislature in Sacramento to approve before the voters can weigh in.

But the more I reflect on the legal challenges that might be made to Cal3, the more I believe that a federal constitutional problem may create similarly large obstacles for the ballot proposal.

I speak here of the requirement in Article IV, Section 3, of the US Constitution that before new states can be created out of existing states, there must be “Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned.” The question is whether the people of a state can, within the meaning of the federal Constitution, act directly to constitute a “legislature” for these purposes, or whether the elected folks in Sacramento have to consent instead. (Interestingly, the state law revision/amendment issue and the federal Article IV issue both focus on the permissibility of direct action by the people in lieu of action by elected state representatives, even though they come at the question from different legal routes.) My own view, based on scholarship I have done on the text, history, and structure of the Constitution is that the people of a state should be able to consent by initiative because the word “legislature” in the Constitution should almost always be read to permit direct action by the people, but my views in this regard have been rejected by recent US Supreme Court case law. And since lower courts (both state and federal) are bound by the US Supreme Court’s reading of the US Constitution, legal challenges to Cal3 based on Article IV of the federal Constitution have legs.

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Back to You Rick

I very much appreciate Rick allowing me to guest-blog this past week during his well-deserved vacation.  Subbing for him is an honor, and I’m invevitably reminded of all the work that he devotes to keeping all of us aware and informed.  Thanks Rick!

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“Feinstein Has Advantages in California Race. De León Now Has Party Leaders.”

NYT:

[I]n the California Senate [top-two] primary last month, Ms. Feinstein crushed Mr. de León in her bid for a sixth term, drawing 2.9 million votes compared to 804,000 votes for him.

But on Saturday night, the executive committee of the Democratic Party struck again at Ms. Feinstein, embarrassing her by voting to endorse Mr. de León in spite of the primary result. He received 217 votes from the committee of party leaders and elected delegates, or 65 percent of the 333 votes cast.

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“Inside John Bolton Super PAC’s deal with Cambridge Analytica”

CPI:

John Bolton needed billionaire Robert Mercer’s attention and support — so badly, Bolton spent more than $1 million of his John Bolton Super PAC’s money on “comically bad” data from Mercer’s now-defunct voter profiling firm, Cambridge Analytica.

So says longtime Bolton adviser Mark Groombridge in an exclusive interview with the Center for Public Integrity about the John Bolton Super PAC’s internal operations.

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“The States Are Now the Best Route to Gerrymandering Reform”

Sam Wang, Ben Williams, and Rick Ober in the American Prospect:

With prospects for federal action on gerrymandering fading fast, it’s time to pursue reform through individual states. Such a federalist approach lacks the sweeping breadth of constitutional doctrine. But metaphorically speaking, if a damaged roof can’t be replaced entirely, it can still help to patch individual holes.

Using easy-to-use statistical tests, one of us previously identified eight states where major partisan gerrymandering offenses occurred in the 2010 redistricting cycle: Florida, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Somewhat surprisingly, every one of these “Egregious Eight” has a realistic path to avoiding or undoing a future partisan gerrymander after the 2020 census—without any help from the Supreme Court.

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“Donald Trump continues to build 2020 re-election war chest”

CPI: “Trump’s campaign ended June with more than $33 million cash on hand — almost three times the size of its reserve from June 2017, according to a new filing with the Federal Election Commission.”

Update:  More on the FEC filings from NYT, which reports that “Mr. Trump’s campaign committee, combined with two joint committees formed with the Republican Party, ended last month with nearly $53.6 million in the bank.”

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“Should Democrats Have Saved Their Filibuster for the New Court Fight?”

NYT, CouldWouldaShoulda Dept: “Now, as the Senate faces another court vacancy — one that could tilt the court’s ideological balance and cement a conservative majority — the Democrats have few tools to fight the nomination. A different outcome last year could have had a huge effect on the more consequential battle now taking shape.”

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“Let’s Not Paper Over Election Security”

At RCP, Phil Stupak writes:

As our nation focuses on election security, an errant notion has emerged that paper-only balloting is some kind of panacea against potential threats. While it is vital to election security that we mandate the use of verifiable paper audit trails, the same cannot be said of paper-only ballots, where the voters do not interact with a voting machine of any kind.

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Mueller Indictment Reveals Election Security Vulnerabilities

Politico:  “Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said Friday that hackers within Russia’s GRU military intelligence service targeted state and local election boards, infiltrated a Florida-based company that supplies software for voting machines across the country, and broke into a state election website to steal sensitive information on about 500,000 American voters.”

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“Massachusetts Senate unanimously passes automatic voter registration bill”

The Hill reports that a different version was passed by the state house last month, and that legislators hope to hammer out a version that would take effect by 2020, if signed by the state’s Governor Charlie Baker, a Republican.  State House News Service reports that Governor Baker is confident that the state could operate an AVR system “with a fairly high degree of integrity.”

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“Reversing course, Sununu signs voter residency bill into law”

AP: “Republican Gov. Chris Sununu reversed course Friday and signed a bill imposing residency requirements on out-of-state college students who vote in New Hampshire.  Current law allows students and others who consider the state their domicile to vote without being subject to residency requirements, such as getting a New Hampshire driver’s license or registering their cars.”

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Mississippi Relaxing Voter Registration Deadline for Runoffs to Comply with NVRA

AP on the state’s action in response to a demand letter from the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights on behalf of the NAACP:

Mississippi is updating a voter registration deadline to meet a requirement of a 1993 federal law, giving people a bit more time to register so they can vote in runoff elections for federal offices.

The state has required people to be registered at least 30 days before the first round of voting in an election. Runoffs happen three weeks later.

The civil rights group’s demand letter is here and state attorney general’s letter is here.

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“Kavanaugh and Campaign Finance: Republican National Committee v. Federal Election Commission”

Charles Davis on SCOTUSBlog:

Kavanaugh’s opinion showed hostility towards the Supreme Court’s views in McConnell. It questioned the theory that these [soft money] limits could be justified simply by the close connection between political parties and candidates or officeholders, and more than once explained that its hands were tied by the Supreme Court. And its analysis included a call for Supreme Court reassessment of these restrictions.

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“The Mystery Firm That Became the NRA’s Top Election Consultant”

Politico on the NRA’s payments to the consulting firm Starboard Strategic:

It was not unusual for the NRA to spend large sums of cash in an election cycle. What was odd was where the money was going. Before 2013, Starboard Strategic had never appeared in Federal Election Commission reports. Someone curious about the firm would have found a skeletal website that listed no staff, clients, address, phone number or previous work…. Yet at a moment when the stakes were high—Republicans needed six seats to claim a majority—the firm had come out of nowhere to become the NRA’s top election contractor.

Acquiring business of this magnitude would be an incredible feat for a firm with no reputation. The question is whether it was really accomplished by Starboard, or another outfit called OnMessage.

Well-established and well-connected, OnMessage is as transparent as Starboard is opaque. What the Federal Election Commission and the public do not know is that the two entities appear to be functionally one and the same.

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Today’s Indictment of Russian Agents Accused of Conspiring to Interfere with 2016 Election

Available here. The indictment alleges a conspiracy to hack the systems of not only the DNC and Clinton campaign, but also election authorities. PBS:

The indictment said two named defendants knowingly conspired to hack computers of U.S. “persons,” state agencies and companies involved in overseeing the 2016 elections. These included “state boards of elections, secretaries of state, and US. companies that supplied software and other technology related to the administration of US. elections,” the indictments said.

More coverage from NYT, WSJ, Atlantic, and Reuters.

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Voting Rights Restoration Project in Alabama

Campaign Legal Center and Southern Poverty Law Center announcement on their efforts to re-enfranchise Alabama voters with felony convictions:

The Alabama Voting Rights Project will take a simple message across the state: A felony conviction does not permanently take away a person’s right to vote. Many Alabama residents who have paid their debts to society are eligible to vote or to have their voting rights restored by obtaining a Certificate of Eligibility to Register to Vote.

AL.com has this story.

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Ari Berman on Judge Kavanaugh and Voting Rights

NYT op-ed: “The threat of voter disenfranchisement will get worse if Judge Kavanaugh is confirmed to the court. His opinion in the South Carolina [voter ID preclearance] case and his record in civil rights matters suggests that he will join with the court’s conservative justices to further roll back voting rights protections and other civil rights laws. If Judge Kavanaugh is confirmed, Chief Justice John Roberts will become the new swing voter. That’s terrible news for voting rights.”

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Experts on Judge Kavanaugh and Election Law

From Politico, here are some excerpts on how his confirmation would affect election law and democracy:

  • Geof Stone:  “Across the entire spectrum of critical constitutional issues – ranging from abortion to gay rights to affirmative action to gerrymandering to campaign finance to the regulation of guns and beyond – they will now hold a majority. This is a stunning victory for partisan judicial decision making, and a stunning defeat for the integrity and credibility of our Supreme Court, which will now be transformed into a blatantly partisan institution.”
  • Elizabeth Price Foley: “His commitment to textualism and originalism will help the Court restore power to the political branches and consequently, the American people. Unlike activist judges who believe “law is politics” and feel empowered to impose their subjective preferences on the country, judges such as Kavanaugh believe strongly that law is the end product of politics, not a continuation thereof.”
  • Michael McConnell: “Please, my liberal friends, calm down…. [I]t is hard for me to count five votes for overruling Roe…. And even if I am wrong about that, remember that a reversal of Roe means nothing more than a return to the democratic process…. Citizens United is probably here to stay. But this is not because of replacing Kennedy with Kavanaugh. Kennedy wrote Citizens United.”
  • Michael Waldman: “[I]t’s an alarming day for the law of democracy. On this topic, the Roberts Court has been activist, relentless, and destructive. Take Citizens United. Or Shelby County (gutting the Voting Rights Act). Or this year’s rulings on voter purges and racial gerrymandering. The Roberts Court even came within one vote – Kennedy’s – of blocking citizen ballot measures to reform redistricting. The Court may now rule on voting rights, partisan gerrymandering, campaign finance laws and the one-person-one-vote doctrine (conservative activists want only citizens counted for redistricting). Kavanaugh should be grilled on his stance toward America’s wobbly democracy.”
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“America’s electoral system gives the Republicans advantages over Democrats”

The Economist:

America’s various disproportional representations are the result of winner-takes-all voting and a two-party system where party allegiance and geography have become surprisingly highly correlated. Places where people live close together vote Democratic, places where they live farther apart vote Republican… Under some electoral systems this would not matter very much. Under America’s it has come to matter a lot, in part because of an anti-party constitution.

Bonus: see if you can spot the Springsteen references. (I count four.) Continue reading

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Judge Kavanaugh on Free Speech and Campaign Finance

Ken White writes that Judge Kavanaugh’s opinions “are consistent with the Supreme Court’s strong protection of free speech rights this century,” and that he has “voted to strike down campaign financing laws and regulations under the First Amendment.” Jonathan Adler agrees: “Justice Kavanaugh has adopted a very speech protective record on the D.C. Circuit, including in areas that were of particular importance to Justice Kennedy, such as campaign-related speech.”  The Intercept offers a critical perspective: “Kavanaugh’s appellate court decisions and public comments suggest that he will accelerate the trend toward a political system dominated by wealthy elites — often operating in the shadows, without any form of disclosure.”

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Ways of Establishing Standing Post-Whitford

As Dan mentioned, the League of Women Voters and Common Cause each filed a brief yesterday explaining how Gill v. Whitford affects the North Carolina partisan gerrymandering case. I wanted to flag the litigants’ subtly different (but complementary) ways of establishing standing. The League, first, identifies a particular alternative map that beats the enacted plan on every nonpartisan criterion and also treats the parties perfectly symmetrically. The League then identifies a series of its members who live in cracked or packed districts in the enacted plan, but who would live in uncracked or unpacked districts in the alternative map. You can see the enacted plan and the particular alternative map below, with all of their districts shaded based on the defendants’ partisan scores.

Common Cause, in contrast, relies on a couple thousand computer-generated maps rather than a single alternative map. It shows that, across this range of maps, most of its plaintiffs are uncracked or unpacked most of the time. The below chart displays the partisan score of each plaintiff’s district under the enacted plan as well as the distribution of partisan scores for the districts in which each plaintiff ends up in the computer-generated maps.

Both of these approaches lead to the same conclusion: Specific people living in specific places have standing to challenge the vast majority of the enacted plan’s districts, because they were unnecessarily cracked or packed. The point stands whether the baseline for comparison is a single alternative map or thousands of them.

 

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Congressional Hearings on Election Cybersecurity

WaPo on yesterday’s hearings on both sides of Capitol Hill: “Momentum may finally be building in Congress to take new action to secure the elections from cyberthreats as the midterms approach.”  Politico reports that: “The top Democrat on the Senate Rules Committee [Sen. Klobachur] wants more answers from voting machine vendors after two of the three largest companies skipped Wednesday’s election security hearing.”  More coverage from McClatchy and The Hill.

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New Filings in NC Partisan Gerrymandering Case

Plaintiffs in Common Cause v. Rucho have filed a new brief before the three-judge district court addressing Gill‘s impact on both standing and the merits of their constitutional claims.  The brief and exhibits along with a press release are available here.  An excerpt from Common Cause plaintiffs’ response to four questions posed by the court:

1. Gill has no impact on this Court’s prior holdings that the 2016 Plan violates both
the First Amendment and Article I, §§ 2 and 4 of the Constitution….

2. The existing factual record is adequate to support this Court’s previous finding of
fact that the Common Cause Plaintiffs’ votes were diluted under the 2016 Plan and its
holding that they have standing ….

3. No supplementation of the record is required to establish the Common Cause
Plaintiffs’ standing …. Nevertheless, in light of the remand by the Supreme Court, this
Court can and should make supplemental findings based on the already-existing record in
… further support of its previous holding that the Common Cause Plaintiffs have established
district-specific standing.

4. Under Gill, the Common Cause Plaintiffs have standing to assert district-specific
vote dilution claims under the Equal Protection Clause challenging the apportionment of
their respective individual districts [and standing to assert associational and structural claims].

The plaintiffs have also submitted proposed findings of fact and a declaration from Jowei Chen comparing the enacted plan to alternative districts.

Update:  The League of Women Voters plaintiffs’ brief is here on CLC’s site (along with Appendices 1, 2 & 3).  The last appendix nicely shows how the packed districts in the enacted plan compare to hypothetical alternatives.

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Yablon: “Campaigns, Inc.”

Rob Yablon has posted this article on SSRN, forthcoming in Minnesota Law Review.  Here’s the abstract:

Election campaigns have become the domain of a thriving industry of paid political service providers. While leading scholars in other fields regard the rise of the campaign industry as a defining feature of our nation’s politics, the industry is strikingly absent from the legal literature. This Article seeks to bring the campaign industry into election law discourse and contends that doing so has important practical and theoretical payoffs.

The Article begins by adding legal texture to existing accounts of the campaign industry’s development. It observes that the industry emerged partly as an unintended consequence of efforts to reform political parties and campaign finance. The Article then considers the industry’s repercussions. For campaigners and political donors, campaign professionals can provide tremendously valuable services, but they can also generate substantial countervailing agency costs. Widening the lens, the campaign industry has significant systemic effects on the pool of candidates who seek office, on the nature of campaigning, on substantive policy decisions, and more. Building on this descriptive account, the Article explores the industry’s implications for ongoing jurisprudential and policy debates about money in politics and the role of political parties. The Article concludes by surveying potential public and private interventions to address the campaign industry’s drawbacks.

I read an earlier version and highly recommend it.

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CAP Report on Increasing Voter Participation

Available here.  From the introduction:

This report also outlines the following recommendations to drive voter participation and make the process of voting more convenient for eligible Americans:

1. Streamline voter registration with automatic voter registration, same-day voter registration (SDR), preregistration of 16- and 17-year-olds, and online voter registration

2. Make voting more convenient with in-person early voting, no-excuse absentee voting, and vote-at-home with vote centers

3. Provide sufficient resources in elections and ensure voting is accessible

4. Restore rights for formerly incarcerated people

5. Strengthen civics education in schools

6. Invest in integrated voter engagement (IVE) and outreach.

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North Carolina’s Early Voting Changes

Slate:

The new measure, which will take effect for the upcoming midterm elections, requires every early voting site in the state to stay open 12 hours a day each weekday (in addition to any weekend hours). By mandating such a large number of hours, the new rule will make it prohibitively expensive for some counties to operate early voting locations. Because the law was passed very late in the legislative session, after many counties set their election budgets, many smaller counties will likely be required to close early voting locations so they don’t overspend.

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“Latinos Are Bringing A Growing Number Of Voting Rights Cases”

NPR:  “Often, we talk about the big cases that involve gerrymandering, voter identification and redistricting, but a lot of legal action around voting actually happens in small cities and towns. And a growing number of those cases are being brought by Latino voters. Over the last 10 years, Latinos have initiated twice as many legal actions as all other groups combined.”

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“SC’s 13,000 voting machines unreliable, vulnerable to hackers, lawsuit alleges”

The State. The complaint filed in federal district court alleges:

In South Carolina, the capacity of the state’s election system to record and count
votes reliably is deeply compromised by the state’s unnecessarily vulnerable voting system.
Throughout the state, elections are administered using a voting system—the iVotronic Direct
Recording Electronic (“DRE”) system, manufactured by Election Systems & Software
(“ES&S”)—that computer science experts have shown to be highly vulnerable to cyberattack
and malware infections, which can occur whether or not the machine is directly connected to
the internet.

The complaint is here  and exhibits here.

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“Austin siblings create board game to tackle gerrymandering”

Story and video here.  One of the creators sends this message:

My name is Josh Lafair, and I am a junior in high school. I have always believed that America, despite its polarization, is a great democracy.

Then I learned about gerrymandering… I realized that people’s votes, in districts across the country, are diluted. That Many Democratic and Republican politicians care more about their own parties and getting re-elected than about preserving American values.

My siblings and I discovered that our hometown, Austin, TX, is severely gerrymandered. Our district (District 10) stretches all the way from Austin to Houston. I vote with people who are a three and a half hour drive away. (Rather, I would vote. I’m currently 17 years old.)

We wanted to teach other families about gerrymandering in a fun, hands on way, so we invented a board game. Mapmaker: The Gerrymandering Game launches on July 10th via Kickstarter. 1-4 players take turns separating voters into districts in 30-45 minutes. We plan on sending copies to governors, state legislators, and Supreme Court justices (who can veto, draw, and rule on maps). We’re including a “Gerrymandering Is Not a Game” proclamation inside every box. Before 2022 redistricting, which will affect elections for the next decade, we hope to add momentum to the anti-gerrymandering movement.

While Mapmaker is a really fun game, gerrymandering is a serious issue. We want to remind politicians that gerrymandering is not just a game, but something that affects real voters in real districts. Redistricting is supposed to enhance our democracy, not break it apart.

During their first game of Mapmaker, when players experience the packing and cracking mechanics, they often comment: “Oh, this is how gerrymandering works.” Of course, there’s more to gerrymandering than just cracking and packing. However, the game helps spark a deeper conversation among players.

My siblings and I hope Mapmaker will start conversations around the country about a topic that is not discussed enough. Gerrymandering is diluting our democracy, yet people rarely understand its full implications. For instance, the Supreme Court recently ruled on major gerrymandering cases in Wisconsin, Maryland, and my own state of Texas. However, my friends had no idea about the cases. Neither did most of my brother’s friends, sister’s friends, or parents’ friends. We didn’t get any notifications about them on our phones. Other news often overshadows gerrymandering, even though it affects the rest of our politics.

My siblings and I have created this game because we believe that Gerrymandering deserves more attention.

Their Kickstarter is live.  Be sure to scroll down for a picture of the justices playing!

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Coverage of Kavanaugh Nomination

[Bumped to top]

  • NYT calls Judge Kavanaugh a “Conservative Stalwart,” noting his involvement in an “extraordinary number of political controversies” since early in his legal career, including Ken Starr’s investigation of President Clinton and the 2000 Florida recount litigation.  It also has these charts on his ideology.  Based in part on his campaign contributions — including to Rich Cordray — Judge Kavanaugh is estimated be somewhat less conservative than Judge Gorsuch, though unlikely to drift ideologically.
  • LA Times reports that Judge Kavanaugh is “a well-credentialed Washington insider who compiled a long record as a reliable conservative and won the respect of White House lawyers and the outside groups that advise them.”  The article quotes his former law clerk Justin Walker of University of Louisville:  “Brett Kavanaugh is courageous, tough and defiant. He will never, ever go wobbly,” and “I predict that he would be a rock-solid conservative in the Alito-Thomas mold.”  We may hear this quotation again in weeks to come.
  • WSJ says that Judge Kavanaugh has “sought to put a tighter leash on the regulatory state” in his dozen years on the bench, often concluding that agencies “stretched their power too far.”  The article references dissents on Obama-era rules on net neutrality and greenhouse gases.
  • Politico reports on the selection process, concluding that President Trump was leaning toward Judge Kavanaugh from the beginning, even as the White House took care to avoid tipping his hand: “What was listed as a deal-breaker to some on the right — his long paper trail — was actually the thing that drew Trump to Kavanaugh.”
  • National Review calls Judge Kavanaugh “A Worthy Pick,” noting that:  “He has vindicated the right to free speech (against certain campaign-finance regulations), to bear arms (against the D.C. government’s attempts to implement sweeping bans), and to religious liberty (against a version of the Obama administration’s “contraceptive mandate”). And he has followed Supreme Court precedents even when gently suggesting they should be rethought.”
  • Law.com quotes various lawyers and professors on Judge Kavanaugh, including Jonathan Adler of Case Law who says: “Kavanaugh nomination shows Trump Administration is serious about taming the administrative state. His opinions on AdLaw issues already get SCOTUS attention. Now he’ll be at the table.”  But according to Tara Malloy of Campaign Legal Center: “Judge Kavanaugh’s view on election law ignores the current reality of our campaign finance system, which is awash in secret, unaccountable money.”
  • 538 reports on judicial ideology scores, concluding that “Kavanaugh, if confirmed, would likely represent a reliably conservative voice and vote on the high court, tipping its balance significantly to the right for years to come.”
  • Vox says that Kavanaugh “he has suggested enhancing the president’s power to block criminal and civil actions against him, a potentially worrisome position when the president nominating him is under investigation and facing multiple lawsuits.”

Update:

  • WaPo identifies winners (including AMK, GWB, “Russia-investigation intriguists”) and losers (including LGBT activists, gun control activists, some campaign finance activists and women’s rights groups) from the nomination.
  • Forbes touts Judge Kavanaugh’s record on free speech, including his opinion in a campaign finance case, Emily’s List v. FEC.
  • Mother Jones worries about the effect on voting rights.
  • NBC reports on the ongoing Mueller probe and a 2009 law review article by Judge Kavanaugh  in which he wrote: “I believe it vital that the President be able to focus on his never-ending tasks with as few distractions as possible…. I believe that the President should be excused from some of the burdens of ordinary citizenship while serving in office”
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Montana Court Grants Relief in Challenge to Green Party Petition

From the conclusion of the district court order in the case challenging the Green Party’s candidate petition:

1. Certain signatures on the Petition are declared invalid …. Removal of these signatures results in the Petition not qualifying in the 34 House districts required by § 13-10-601,MCA.2. Plaintiffs’ complaint for a declaratory judgment removing the Montana Green Party from the election ballot is GRANTED.

2. The Green Party’s Petition is declared invalid and the Secretary is directed to remove the Montana Green Party from the election ballot. The Secretary, his agents, officers,
employees, and successors, and all persons acting in concert with each or any of them, are enjoined from implementing, enforcing, or giving any effect to certification of the Green Party’s Petition.

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“With Russian meddling in mind, California invests $134 million to safeguard election systems”

Sacramento Bee:

With increased attention to cybersecurity lately, California is making a sizable investment in its election infrastructure.

This year’s state budget provides $134 million for counties to modernize voting systems. It also provides $3 million for the creation of the Office of Elections Cybersecurity and the Office of Enterprise Risk Management.

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