Alliance Defending Freedom: It’s days away: The Supreme Court’s marriage decision is expected to come down on June 29.
AP: Potential 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton kicked off a series of speeches on Monday with a call to combat what she called an “assault on voting rights.”
Bob Corn-Revere at SCOTUS Blog: The central paradox of most campaign finance reform measures is that they are premised on the odd notion that political speech is far too important to be free.
SCOTUS Blog: This Term the Roberts Court returns to one of its favorite arenas of constitutional jurisprudence – First Amendment free expression law. Having now rendered thirty opinions in this area, the Court is poised to consider some major questions ranging from campaign finance restrictions to limits on protesting near abortion clinics (see here).
Washington Post: The Republican Party’s struggles with Hispanics have been well-documented. Now, a new poll from Gallup shows that it makes little difference whether Latinos living in the U.S. were born in the country or not when it comes to close alignment with the Democratic Party.
Ilya Somin at the Volokh Conspiracy: The problem, however, is that moderate altruism combined with a low probability of decisiveness is not enough to incentivize most voters to acquire more than a minimal amount of knowledge about they’re voting on. Thus, we get an equilibrium where lots of people vote out of a sincere desire to promote the public interest, but most of them have very little understanding of which policies are actually likely to do that. This problem is the focus of my new book Democracy and Political Ignorance.
Greg Sargent at Washington Post: “Democrats are preaching keep; Republicans are preaching repeal,” Wasserman says. “The winning candidates in 2014 will most likely be preaching fix.”
SCOTUS Blog: Mounting a strong counter-attack to attempts by the Obama administration and others to give federal courts new powers of supervision over Texas voting laws, officials of the Lone Star State have told a three-judge district court in San Antonio that it cannot impose that regime at this stage, or at any point unless there is new proof of “rampant” racial bias in election procedures in the state.
The Hill: GOP hopes for winning back the Senate rest on Arkansas, where Rep. Tom Cotton (R) is running to unseat Sen. Mark Pryor, widely seen as the most vulnerable Democrat running in 2014.
KOIN.com: The Oregon United for Marriage Coalition reported that it collected 37,211 signatures in the first 10 days of the statewide campaign, which began July 26. The Freedom to Marry Initiative needs 116,284 valid signatures by July of 2014 to make it on the November 2014 ballot.
AP: The measure given final approval late Thursday night in a party-line vote in the GOP-dominated state House requires voters to present government-issued photo IDs at the polls and shortens early voting by a week, from 17 days to 10.
LifeNews: A petition to place a measure on the ballot in Albuquerque, New Mexico would ban late-term abortions in this large city that pro-life advocates are calling the late-term abortion capital of the nation.
KOIN.com (AP): Volunteers in more than a dozen Oregon cities are expected to pick up petitions and ask registered voters for their signatures. It will take 116,000 valid signatures for the initiative to make the November 2014 ballot.
The Hill: Norquist, a powerful GOP kingmaker, says he doesn’t know yet where Cheney stands on the issues, but is unhappy with Enzi for his help pushing an Internet sales tax bill through the Senate.
Blog of the Legal Times: A key U.S. senator has pledged legislation that will plug any holes in the Voting Rights Act left by Tuesday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision in Shelby County v. Holder.
AP: Democratic U.S. Rep. Edward Markey and Republican Gabriel Gomez scrambled to energize supporters and mobilize get-out-the-vote efforts in Massachusetts in the hours leading up to Tuesday’s special election to succeed John Kerry in the U.S. Senate.
SCOTUS Blog case information page in Shelby County v. Holder is here. The 5-4 opinion by Chief Justice Roberts is here. SCOTUS Live Blog: The Court makes clear that: “Our decision in no way affects the permanent, nationwide ban on …
Ken Klukowski at Breitbart: Conservatives are launching a multi-track strategy in the wake of the Supreme Court’s major election law case this week.
Iowa Register: When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that corporations have a First Amendment right to spend money to advocate for political candidates, it made clear that the Constitution does not prohibit laws requiring public reporting of corporate campaign spending. The court, however, left for another day the question of how stringent those reporting requirements may be
CampaignsandElections.com: Michael McConnell, a professor at Stanford Law School and former federal circuit judge, says Buckley has a “central incoherency” that was made apparent in the last election, when Super PACs and other independent groups blanketed the airwaves. The ruling, he says, draws a distinction between contributions, which could be limited, and independent expenditures, which, as Citizens United showed, should not. “The court asserts, with no evidence and contrary to the views of almost everyone familiar with the issue, that the former have the potential for corruption and the latter do not.”
The Hill: “This hole in federal statutory law allows non-citizens to register and thereby encourages voter fraud,” Cruz wrote on his Facebook page. “I will file a commonsense amendment to the immigration bill that permits states to require I.D. before registering voters.”
AP: However, the overall tone of Hasan Rowhani’s first post-election news conference, will likely be viewed by the West as further evidence that his stunning victory last week could open new possibilities for dialogue to ease tensions over Tehran’s disputed nuclear program.
National Law Journal: A study released on Tuesday by the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy identified a “statistically significant” relationship between ballooning campaign contributions by business interest to state supreme court candidates and pro-business decisions by those courts.
National Review Bench Memos: This is a favorite talking point of George Soros and his allies, who want to replace judicial elections with the trial-lawyer dominated “merit” selection method. The only problem is the empirical evidence doesn’t support Justice O’Connor’s conclusion.
Fox News: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has named state Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa to temporarily fill the U.S. Senate seat that opened up this week after Frank Lautenberg’s death. | Official Bio for Chiesa | Wikipedia Entry for Chiesa
Columbus Dispatch: Ohioans won’t vote on whether to allow gay marriage until at least the November 2014 election. FreedomOhio, the campaign to overturn Ohio’s 2004 constitutional amendment limiting marriage to one man and one woman, said today it would wait until next year, despite an ongoing petition drive.
National Journal: The New Jersey governor’s decision to hold the Senate race in October 2013 means it will be difficult for the GOP to contest the seat.
NRO: “This is what really rankles conservatives,” Armey said on CNN this afternoon. “I put it down as debilitating stupidity because the first rule of politics is ‘don’t lose the friends you already have for the friends you’re never going to get.’”
Mark Rienzi at Becket Fund: A surprising and public rift opened up last week between President Obama and his lawyers over whether profit-making businesses can pursue goals other than making money, including adhering to religious requirements.
Washington Times: House Speaker John A. Boehner says it “really is inconceivable” that President Obama wouldn’t have known about the unfolding IRS scandal before learning about it from reporters, as the White House has claimed.
Fox News: Under her direction, the FEC undertook the largest enforcement action in its history — suing the Christian Coalition for violating campaign laws. The Christian Coalition won, but in one deposition, FEC lawyers asked a defendant if televangelist Pat Robertson prayed for him. James Bopp, the Christian Coalition’s lawyer, said he was “shocked and appalled” by that. . . . “She was in effect being promoted for what she had done at the Federal Election Commission and now was going to be expected … to replicate that at the IRS and now we know that’s exactly what happened,” he said.
AP: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Wednesday that a decision by election overseers to disqualify his top aide from next month’s presidential race is an act of “oppression” and that he will take the case to the country’s supreme leader.
National Review: IRS scandal notwithstanding, on Tuesday, the (Republican-dominated) Texas legislature passed S.B. 346, a bill to force non-profit organizations and trade associations to disclose the names of the people who support them financially. The law exempts unions, but covers groups that spend more than $25,000 or more in independent expenditures about political candidates. This applies even if those expenditures are a tiny fraction of the group’s overall spending . . .
Weekly Standard: “[I]f this fact came out in September 2012, in the middle of a presidential election? The terrain would have looked very different.”
Rasmussen Reports: Voters are now evenly divided when asked if elections in the United States are fair today, and a solid majority continues to believe that the U.S. government does not have the consent of the governed. But the Political Class strongly disagrees.
But that would have meant the organization would have to be a political committee under New York law, just as candidate committees and political parties are. The organization would then have to register with the state board of elections, comply with recordkeeping requirements, and comply with extensive, periodic reporting requirements.
FoxNews: An IRS campaign to apply additional scrutiny to conservative groups went beyond targeting “Tea Party” and “patriot” groups to include those focused on government spending, the Constitution and several other broad areas.
The Hill: The Republican National Committee urged the Supreme Court on Tuesday to strike down certain limits on campaign contributions, saying they’re a violation of the First Amendment. The RNC filed its opening brief in a case challenging limits on the total amount one person can donate in a single election cycle.
AP: In a story of political redemption, Mark Sanford is headed back to Congress after his career was derailed by scandal four years ago.
Christian Concern: The local election results are showing massive losses for the Conservative party. This was by no means inevitable but David Cameron’s insistence on pursuing the same sex ‘marriage’ agenda has undoubtedly contributed to this dramatic result.
Anchorage Daily News: The Alaska Supreme Court Friday unanimously upheld a lower court decision that a voter initiative banning all abortions could not appear on the Alaska ballot because it was unconstitutional. | Desjarlais v. Alaska
Opening Brief Filed in U.S. Supreme Court in Challenge to the Federal Biennial, Individual Aggregate Limits on Contributions to Political Parties and Candidates
Washington Post: A gay couple married under state law cannot give a joint contribution to a federal candidate if they make it from an individual banking account, the Federal Election Commission voted unanimously Thursday.
LA Times: Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Massachusetts who supports gay marriage has asked the Federal Election Commission to determine whether gay couples have the right to make joint contributions to political candidates.
“We are pleased that the court got part of it right: the First Amendment prohibits the government from funding candidates based upon their opponent’s speech,” said James Bopp, Jr., counsel for the plaintiffs.
Milwaukee Sentinel Journal: Roggensack’s victory gives her a second 10-year term on the bench and preserves the court’s conservative majority. On the most controversial issues and cases in recent years, the court has often split 4-3, with Roggensack in the majority.
The Hill: Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R) has won his House primary runoff, setting up a high-profile special election against businesswoman Elizabeth Colbert Busch (D), the sister of comedian Stephen Colbert.
Scott Cooper at PennLive: In the last week, there’s been another push to change the way Pennsylvania selects judges for the three appellate courts – Commonwealth, Superior, and Supreme — moving from direct election to an appointment system. Proponents argue a switch would take the politics out of the system by removing the need to raise funds to win election.
Wall Street Journal (via Google): On a conference call in March with the George Soros-funded Justice at Stake, former Governors Ed Rendell, Tom Ridge and Dick Thornburgh said they want judicial selection taken away from voters and given to a judicial nominating commission. The state’s current system of judicial elections, Mr. Ridge said, “casts a dark shadow, a heavy cloud over the integrity and independence of the judicial system.”
LifeSiteNews: Uruguayan pro-life activists have gathered more than 68,000 signatures requesting a referendum over recent legislation legalizing the killing of the unborn, forcing a national vote on the issue, according to local media sources.
NRO: Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, acknowledges that reforming the GOP’s presidential primary is one of his top priorities. But he doesn’t want to be heavy-handed about it, he says, in a briefing at National Review’s Washington, D.C., office. “Making those decisions and amending the calendar is a decision the entire RNC has to make,” he says. “That takes 75 percent of the voting body.”
CNSNews: As for Senator Portman, his announcement hasn’t exactly been popular with either Ohio party, so far. Reports suggest that the calls flooding into his office are 60 percent opposed to the Senator’s new position.
Pocono Record: Voters may not know as much as they should about statewide judicial candidates. But the common sense of ordinary citizens inspires more confidence than savvy, politically motivated power brokers in smoke-filled rooms. Pennsylvanians need judges who are willing to face the voters, not who owe their appointment to insider fat cats.
Daily Caller: Why are GOP presidential hopefuls agreeing to meet for a debate hosted by an outlet like MSNBC, a cable network that has increasingly grown hostile to Republicans as it self-identifies as a liberal news network?
SCOTUS Blog: At 10 a.m. Monday, the Supreme Court will hold one hour of oral argument on state power to require would-be voters to show proof of citizenship to register. Arguing for state and local officials in Arizona v. The Inter Tribal Council of Arizona (docket 12-71), will be Arizona Attorney General Thomas C. Horne, with thirty minutes of time.
Washington Post: Which is why we were very excited to see a new and comprehensive study from Nonprofit Vote, a nonpartisan origination that works with nonprofits to encourage voter participation. The study, which you can read in its entirety on the group’s Web site, includes a breakdown of 2012 turnout rates in all 50 states and the District. The percentages were calculated by dividing the number of ballots cast by the voting eligible population.
Cronkite News: To Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne, the state law requiring proof of citizenship for voter registration is “common sense,” not a burden. To opponents, Arizona’s Proposition 200 is just another obstacle that would restrict access to the polls for the young, elderly and minorities.
Karen E. Crummy and Allison Sherr at the Denver Post(11/8/2012): How did Colorado go from the reddest of red to consecutively blue so quickly?
National Review: Washington’s statement could easily have been aimed at the anti–Electoral College National Popular Vote effort, which is currently working to win support in several states. The measure has been approved by committees in Minnesota and Oklahoma and is pending on the Minnesota House and Oklahoma Senate floor. NPV is still pending in and could soon be approved by Connecticut, Maine, and Rhode Island legislative committees.
QC Times: Two years after voters served the Iowa Supreme Court with a shocking blow, the judicial selection process continues to be debated, as witnessed at a forum Saturday with Iowa Supreme Court Justice Thomas Waterman.
Amanda Becker at Roll Call: Some of the more conservative justices on the Supreme Court weren’t shy about assessing their neighbors across the street Wednesday during oral arguments in a closely watched Voting Rights Act case.
Texas Tribune: Roberts and his colleagues are off the leash. Their counterparts in Texas are not so lucky. Elected judges have to hope the politics work out — that voters will understand unpopular decisions and blame the people who write the laws and not the people who interpret them.
Major Push To Get Christians To Voting Booth: 12 states ID’d as key to restoring Judeo-Christian heritage
World Net Daily: They’re targeting 12 key states: Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, Alaska, Arkansas, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota, Virginia and West Virginia. The strategy was profiled Monday by David Brody of CBN News. Brody said the groups – led by the American Renewal Project – are planning briefings for evangelical pastors, voter-registration drives and other events in an attempt “to restore American to its Judeo-Christian heritage.”
In Significant Action, Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Case to Allow Corporate Contributions Directly to Candidates | Rick Hasen at Election Law Blog
Election Law Blog: Via SCOTUSBlog comes the news that the Supreme Court, without comment, has denied cert. in Danielczyk v. U.S.,The decision not to hear the case is significant, because it means the Supreme Court majority, which has shown hostility to campaign finance limits, has decided not to move as aggressively as it could in further deregulating the campaign finance system.
NPR: The Supreme Court says it won’t hear a case that would have let candidates solicit money from corporations. By doing so, the court is reaffirming one strict ban on corporate political money, three years ago after easing other limits in its controversial Citizens United ruling.
Breitbart: The Supreme Court has taken McClutcheon v. FEC for arguments this fall. McClutcheon is a challenge to the part of the current version of FECA that limits how much money an American citizen can give to one of the national political parties in a two-year period. Although the overall limit is slightly over $100,000, that’s beside the point of asking what empowers the federal government to tell a citizen how much communication he can have with his fellow citizens in the political process.