Monday, October 17, 2016

Obama in February

President Obama has announced at least one thing he will do when he leaves office. He will work with the new National Democratic Redistricting Committee, which is to be chaired by Obama’s previous Attorney General Eric Holder. The committee’s job will be to fight gerrymandering ahead of the 2020 census and following redistricting.

This is fantastic news!

Stephen Wolf of Daily Kos gives an idea of why this group was formed and what they will be doing. Currently about 55% of House seats are drawn to favor the GOP with another 10% drawn to favor Dems. That is why Dems lost the house in 2012 and winning it back this year is a tossup. There is also rampant gerrymandering in many state legislatures, including Michigan. The tasks ahead:

* Target key state legislatures and governors to block bad 2020 maps.

* Win crucial state judicial elections to have the right people overseeing the maps.

* Fund gerrymandering lawsuits to take the case to the Supremes. Hmm… might we see Obama presenting the case before the Justices?

* Support ballot initiatives for 2018 and 2020 to put redistricting in the hands of non-partisan commissions.

The effort could cost over $100 million.

Commenter MissouriDemKC responded:
This. This is why preventing Obama or Clinton from appointing a majority to the Supreme Court is the thing that Republicans are willing to lay down of the railroad tracks for.

Because it is through their use of a Supreme Court majority that the Republicans have been able to control ALL of the government against the will of the majority.

THEIR Supreme Court allows gerrymandering, so that the Republicans have a 30-seat majority in the House even when more people voted for Democrats overall.

THEIR Supreme Court allows unlimited and secret campaign contributions from huge, monied interests.

THEIR Supreme Court allows voter draconian ID laws, to suppress the vote of minorities and the elderly.

THEIR Supreme Court actually selected a President of the United States one year, if I’m not mistaken.
They know that without control of that Court, they’re facing a permanent minority status. That’s why they’ll do anything to prevent a change in the makeup of the Supreme Court.

Which leads me to…

It has been 246 days since Justice Antonin Scalia died and 215 days since Merrick Garland was nominated for that seat. The Senate, under GOP leadership and control, has done nothing in the process to confirm or reject Garland.

Senator John McCain announced that the GOP in the Senate will be united in refusing to confirm any Supreme Court nominee nominated by Hillary Clinton. Since it is likely there will be three more vacancies by the end of a Clinton first term McCain is promising that by 2020 the Court will have only five Justices, and three of them will be Roberts, Thomas, and Alito.

A McCain spokesperson later said he and other GOP senators will “vote for or against that individual based on their qualifications.” It is easy to see that in the GOP view a nomination by Clinton equals unqualified. They may hold hearings (which they haven’t done for Garland), and still refuse to approve all of Clinton’s nominees.

I’m pleased to see that Dems are outspending the GOP in crucial battleground states and, so far, the Koch brothers aren’t refilling GOP coffers. This helps our chances of getting a Dem majority and Chuck Schumer, likely Dem Majority Leader, can change the rules to prevent filibustering Supreme nominees.

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