Monthly Archives: May 2014

“Weed for Votes”


In an effort to encourage California residents to cast ballots in the state primary elections next week, certain pot clubs in San Jose will be giving voters free weed, as long as they have a medical marijuana card, and can prove that they’ve voted with a ballot stub or an “I Voted” sticker. The effort, “Weed for Votes,” has been organized by the Silicon Valley Cannabis Coalition, in the hopes of getting some pot-friendly politicians elected. Sound dubiously legal? It might be.

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“Academic highlight: Congressional overrides of Supreme Court decisions”

Amanda Frost writes at SCOTUSBlog about Christiansen and Eskridge, Congressional Overrides of Supreme Court Statutory Interpretation Decisions, 1967–2011 (Texas Law Review). My earlier coverage is here; and I will be writing a response with Jim Buatti for the Texas Law Review because the authors take on my End of the Dialogue? Political Polarization, the Supreme Court, and Congress, 86 Southern California Law Review 205 (2013).

Here is a snippet from Amanda’s analysis;

Contrary to Hasen, Christiansen and Eskridge found that the 1990s were the “golden age” of overrides, in which an “unprecedented explosion of statutes reset[] statutory policy in important ways.”  Their different empirical findings are due to a difference in methodology.  Hasen used congressional committee reports to identify overrides, which was the same source Eskridge used in his original 1991 study; Christiansen and Eskridge also relied on these reports, but supplemented their data with Westlaw research.  Using these sources, Christiansen and Eskridge found that the 102nd through the 105th Congresses (1991-1999) overrode eighty-six Supreme Court decisions, averaging more than twenty per Congress, and that many of these overrides were on major questions of public policy.  Hasen responds that he chose to examine legislation in which Congress consciously chose to override the Court, not legislation in which Congress inadvertently did so, which is why he only discussed overrides that were specifically referenced in committee reports.

In any case, the dispute over the number of overrides in the 1990s may not ultimately be that important, since Christiansen and Eskridge agree with Hasen that overrides have declined significantly since 1998.  Christiansen and Eskridge also agree with Hasen that the downturn is likely the result of partisan polarization in Congress, though they view it as a short-term phenomenon that is unlikely to last for much longer.  They write that “countervailing pressures from interest groups, agencies, and the states ought to press Congress to update aging superstatutes, with the result being a resurgence of overrides” in the future.  Thus, their most significant disagreement with Hasen is whether the recent decline of congressional overrides suggests a permanent shift in the relationship between the Court and Congress, or merely a temporary disruption of an ongoing dialogue between the branches.

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More Proof That Impersonation Fraud is an Exceedingly Dumb Way to Try to Steal an Election

From a small school district race:

According to the Village of Catskill Police Department blotter for the week of May 27, Benjamen Hodzic, 18, of Catskill, was arrested and charged on May 21, the day after the election, with one count of second degree forgery, in which the person falsely makes, completes, or alters a written instrument which is calculated to become or to represent a public record filed, or required by law to be filed, in or with a public office or public servant, and which is a class D felony.

Hodzic was also charged with one count of second degree criminal impersonation of another person with intent to obtain a benefit, a class A misdemeanor.

He was arraigned in Catskill Village Court and released on his own recognizance. He is scheduled to make a future court appearance.

School officials have largely declined comment, but according to public discussion, Hodzic allegedly signed in as his brother on the registration roll, cast the votes, and was later recognized and verified as not being on the registration roll.

Catskill Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kathleen Farrell said Wednesday the district reported the matter to village police immediately.

Of the election results, Farrell said, “To the best of our knowledge there was only one inappropriate voting action.”

“There are no other reported incidents of voter fraud or other voting irregularities observed by the district clerk,” she said.

MORE on the general point of impersonation stupidity.

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