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It’s our semi-regular weekly survey of what’s happening in the various states where, as we know, the real work of government is done and where the cowboy angel rolls.
We start in Ohio, where we get new evidence that state courts are the place to look for the last lines of defense against the onslaught of gerrymander ratfcking. From Columbus Expedition:
The court gave the commission until Feb. 17 to approve a new map that reflects the 54% Republican, 46% Democratic voting preferences spread over the past decade. “The revised plan does not attempt to closely match this constitutionally defined ratio. Our instruction to the commission is – simply – to abide by the Constitution,” the opinion reads.
Ohio Senate GOP spokesman John Fortney said Ohio faces “a constitutional crisis and electoral system chaos. Candidates have no clear direction regarding the constituencies for their campaigns and voters face the uncertainty of further court-ordered gerrymandering.
The Ohio court pretty much told Fortney to stuff this.
The opinion noted that the commission’s failure puts pressure on election officials and said the Legislative Assembly can move the date of the May 3 primaries if necessary.
This is an order of magnitude difference in gerrymandering disputes. For years, one of the trick card makers’ main strategies was to tickle the clock until it was so close to election day that they used the trick cards or unleashed mayhem on a stick. . (The Supreme Court pretended to be concerned about this when it decided to allow a farcical card in Alabama until November.) Now, in both Ohio and a federal court in Georgia, the judges tell legislatures to produce honest maps or they delay elections until they do. It’s a significant flex. From Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
U.S. District Judge Steve Jones said in court Wednesday he would consider voter confusion and confidence risks before ruling on lawsuits alleging Georgia’s redistricting discriminates against black voters in violation. voting rights law. Redrawn districts and a subsequent primary would further inflame a high-stakes election year, leading to contentious campaigns for governor and Congress. Redistricting lawsuits target an additional black-majority district after new maps drawn by the GOP positioned Republicans to secure a seat in Congress, where they currently hold an 8-6 advantage in the US congressional delegation. ‘State.
The overbreadth was so huge and egregious that the judges realized that allowing some of these cards would do more than just harm democracy. Ignoring the cards would make the judges look like fools. Judges don’t like to look like idiots, as North Carolina Republicans found out this week. From Politics:
In a decision released Friday night, the justices split 4-3 along party lines in ruling the current card an illegal partisan gerrymander that is “unconstitutional beyond a reasonable doubt.” The state Supreme Court has given the General Assembly until February 18 to submit a new redistricting proposal to the court — or a lower court will approve a new plan…
“The General Assembly violates the Constitution of North Carolina when it deprives a voter of their right to substantially equal voting power on the basis of their partisan affiliation,” Judge Robin Hudson wrote in the order. “Gaining a partisan advantage disproportionate to the level of statewide voter support for a political party is neither a compelling nor a legitimate government interest.”
A brand, which will surely leave.
We return to Ohio and a new front in the Culture Wars that very few Culture War strategists were prepared for. I certainly wasn’t ready for that. In the town of Hudson, the city council was debating whether to allow ice fishing licenses on a local lake. The rest is dizzying. From Cleveland.com:
“If you open this up to ice fishing, when on the surface it sounds good, then what happens next year?” Shubert asked. “Does someone come back and say, ‘I want an ice cream shack in Hudson Springs Park, for X time?’ And then if you then allow ice fishing with shacks, then that leads to another problem: prostitution.And now you have the chief of police and the police department involved.
The late Al McGuire, of holy memory, always said that ice fishing was the first sign of encroaching madness. On the other hand, I know a lot of people who really appreciate it. So I throw it out to those who know more about ice fishing than I do: are ice fishing shacks also notorious brothels? It seems unlikely, and certainly unappetizing, but I’m willing to keep an open mind here.
This isn’t the first time Mayor Shubert has hit the bull’s eye. Last October, he threatened to arrest school board members if they did not resign. From Akron Beacon Log:
Shubert on Monday night gave the board an ultimatum. “It has come to my attention that your educators are essentially distributing what is child pornography in the classroom,” Shubert told the council. “I spoke to a judge tonight. She has already confirmed it. So I’m going to give you a simple choice: either you choose to resign from this school board or you will be charged.
Narrator: No one was selling child pornography. Nobody quit. No one has been charged. And the mayor moved on to a crusade against canoodling among the bait buckets.
And we conclude, as is our custom, in the great state of Oklahoma, from where the Official Caribbean Fugitive Blog Friedman of the Plains brings us the latest in anti-choice hooliganism. From Diary-Record:
“They solemnly signed these bills and went on the news and said we’re doing everything we can to save the kids because we’re pro-life and we’re conservative and we’re Republican and we’re Christian,” said Free The States founder T. Russell. Hunter told the crowd. “From that moment to that moment, babies were murdered without mercy in the State of Oklahoma, all in accordance with these laws.”
Hunter distinguished his group’s goals from those of the pro-life activists who hold Rose Day on Capitol Hill each year, saying the group that showed up for Abolition Day is more important. The Abolition Day group wants state officials to outright ban abortion in Oklahoma, regardless of federal law. According to the group’s website, the “opinions of the United States Supreme Court on abortion are legally and morally illegitimate and should be ignored.”
Yeah, it will fly. Of course, any real anti-choice movement requires the reduction of women to biological storage jars requiring regular state inventories.
The most radical of the bunch is Senate Bill 1167, introduced by State Sen. George Burns (R). Titled Every Mother Matters Act, or EMMA, it would establish a government database for pregnant women seeking abortions in Oklahoma. Each pregnant person will call a hotline and be connected to a “pre-abortion resource” assistant, but that person is not legally allowed to refer a patient to an abortion provider. The pregnant person would then be assigned a “unique identification number” in the database, and abortion providers would be mandated to retain the information for seven years.
Under the program, the woman will be “connected with a care worker who will provide, at no cost to her, an assessment of her eligibility and offer assistance in obtaining support services, other than abortion, for her or the biological father of the unborn child”. according to a press release from Burns’ office. Services include information on adoption, housing, employment, childcare and more, but not abortion care. It’s unclear whether the hotline assistants will have medical expertise in reproductive care, but the law prohibits anyone who has worked for an abortion clinic in the past from registering as a resource worker.
I would just like to point out that Margaret Atwood underestimated the whole thing.
This is your democracy, America. Cherish it.
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