Tom Sullivan's blog

SCOTUS: Weird with a beard

We're going to discuss photo IDs and vote suppression in just a minute.

But first, God and beards were before the Supreme Court on Tuesday in the case of Holt v. Hobbs. At issue: Whether a Muslim prisoner in Arkansas should be allowed to wear a beard in accordance with his religious faith. Per federal statute, prisons should allow such accomodation. As a compromise, the plaintiff, Holt, had agreed that a half-inch beard would satisfy his obligation to God.

University of Virginia law professor Douglas Laycock testified for the plaintiff.

A North Carolina Bridgegate?

As corporate-carpetbagger friendly as the NCGOP has made North Carolina since taking control of the legislature in 2010, they keep surprising. This latest revelation Monday from North Carolina echoes the billion-dollar, Hudson Lights real estate deal thought connected to Gov. Chris Christie's Bridgegate scandal. WCNC-Charlotte has video here.

Coming Soon To An NC Interstate Near You?


Last night, FiveThirtyEight blog reported a marked shift in polling on the NC Senate contest between incumbent Democrat Kay Hagan and NC House Speaker Thom Tillis.

In North Carolina, a Rasmussen Reports poll found Democrat Kay Hagan ahead of Republican Thom Tillis 45 percent to 39 percent. Tillis had led in the previous Rasmussen survey by 5 percentage points. Another North Carolina poll released Thursday, by SurveyUSA, gave Hagan a 3-point lead (46 percent to 43 percent).

Combined, the two polls move Hagan from a "45 percent underdog to a 61 percent percent favorite." But there's not much analysis on why.

Let's speculate, shall we?

GOP voter fraud hunt is really a lack of electoral confidence

Renewed attacks on voting rights in North Carolina, Pennsylvania and other states are as much about power as about policy and race. The hand wringing over elusive "fraud" is because America's majority ethnic group sees its traditional grip on power eroding with shifting demographics.

In North Carolina last week, Republican lawmakers again raised the alarm over the possibility that hundreds -- maybe thousands -- had criminally cast ballots in two states in the 2012 election. GOP leaders were quick to insist that the numbers justified the draconian voting law they passed in the last legislative session. The U.S. Department of Justice has challenged the law in court.

Chris Kromm of the Institute for Southern Studies just as quickly debunked the study by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach whose office, after checking 5 million voter records in 2013, "couldn't provide any evidence of a single instance in which the Interstate Crosscheck's data had led to an actual legal charge of voter fraud." Because the data, Kromm writes, "offers no proof such fraud is occurring." Requiring citizens to present identity cards to vote would have no effect on voting in multiple states.

Your Republican Governor

Richard (RJ) Eskow was on Fox Business with Neil Cavuto recently. Since New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is positioning himself to run for president as a moderate Republican and since Fox Republicans can't have that, Cavuto invited Eskow on to bash Christie for him.

Landmark Voter ID Judge: "I plead guilty" To Getting Ruling Wrong

The judge who wrote the ruling in the Indiana Voter ID case (later approved by the U.S. Supreme Court) admits he got it completely wrong:

I plead guilty to having written the majority opinion (affirmed by the Supreme Court) upholding Indiana’s requirement that prospective voters prove their identity with a photo id—a law now widely regarded as a means of voter suppression rather than fraud prevention.

Brad Friedman writes:

Now, the very judge who wrote the ruling in the original case later approved by the U.S. Supreme Court is abandoning ship, and directly admitting he got it completely wrong. That the only case of note used by supporters of this kind of voting restriction has now been pretty much disowned by the judge who wrote its majority decision is simply a remarkable development in this years-long battle.

A battle that continues today in North Carolina.

R is for Royalist

The Republican Party is acting out one of those dreary murder ballads with America. You know the ones, where the rejected suitor declares, “If I can’t have you, then no one can!” Then he murders the woman to put her out of his misery.

America, how we loved ye!

The Republican-led U.S. House voted last week to throw 4 million Americans off the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps), largely on party lines. Then it voted 230-to-189 to shut down the government if Obamcare isn't defunded. Then Republicans threw a party.

At the National Review, Henry Olsen threw up his hands:

The conservative war on food stamps is the most baffling political move of the year. Conservatives have suffered for years from the stereotype that they are heartless Scrooge McDucks more concerned with our money than other people’s lives. Yet in this case, conservatives make the taking of food from the mouths of the genuinely hungry a top priority. What gives? And why are conservatives overlooking a far more egregious abuse of taxpayer dollars in the farm bill? [Emphasis by Jonathan Chait]

"It’s not baffling," writes Chait, nor a stereotype. "Indeed, it’s the only analysis that persuasively explains the facts."

NCGOP Decides To Shoot Their Own To Suppress Dem Votes


"You see? I kill my own men."

-- Mystery Men (1999): Evil is Cocky

Democrats rending their garments over the NCGOP's latest legislative caca del toro -- the Voter Information Verification Act (House Bill 589), the election "reform" bill -- have missed the real story. Fortunately for Republican leaders, so have their own supporters.

Plan or perish: If you don't, your adversary will

Recently I spoke with someone who suggested that Democrats should boycott working at polling places in 2014. That is, let the GOP screw up the election so royally that people will throw them out in 2016. This was the same sort of liberal who thought the left should express its displeasure with Obama and the Democrats by staying home in November 2010. That worked out well in North Carolina. For Art Pope.

Once again, that sort of liberal was recommending that we express our displeasure with the North Carolina Republicans by staying home in 2014.

Right.

So when will you actually show up?, I thought. When will you stand up and fight for the constitutional rights and interests of the people you think you represent? When do we show them that liberals are leaders worthy of their support, and good for doing something besides doing nothing?

NC Republicans ask voters: 'Who's your Daddy?'

Last fall, voters across North Carolina made their choices at the ballot box. In the next general election we will see whether they still like those they chose.

I recently read a post from state Sen. Thom Goolsby, R-New Hanover. He explains why he and Sen. Buck Newton, R-Wilson, introduced a bill taking away our choice to vote a straight ticket. Republicans like more choice in theory. Because freedom. But they insist on taking away this choice. Plus a few others.

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