KSTP.com: According to our exclusive new KSTP/SurveyUSA poll, 50 percent of Minnesotans favor an amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman. Meanwhile, 43 percent oppose the amendment and 8 percent are undecided.
Carrie Severino at National Review: Last Friday the West Virginia Supreme Court stopped Allan Loughry, a candidate for the West Virginia supreme court, from receiving additional public funding — funding that was triggered after the campaign expenditures of Mr. Loughrey’s opponent, Justice Robin Davis, crossed a certain threshold. The court found, in part, that because Mr. Laughrey’s additional public funding could neutralize Justice Davis’s campaign expenditures, the funds would violate Justice Davis’s political speech rights.
NY Times: The November presidential election, widely expected to rest on a final blitz of advertising and furious campaigning, may also hinge nearly as much on last-minute legal battles over when and how ballots should be cast and counted, particularly if the race remains tight in battleground states.
Washington Post: They say D.C. Republicans ultimately will not stay out of a race so critical to their national prospects — if they are convinced Akin won’t end his campaign.
“Minnesota Board Exempts Catholic Organization Employee’s Pro-Gay Marriage Contribution From Disclosure”
Religion Clause Blog: In an interesting decision last month in In re Application of John Doe, (MN Campg. Fin. & Pub. Discl. Bd., Aug. 7, 2012), the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board granted an exemption to an employee of a Catholic organization who had contributed $600 to an organization that opposes theMarriage Amendment that will appear on the November ballot.
Dallas Morning News: Texas has now spent more than $2 million defending its law to require photo identification to vote and its redrawing of political boundaries, officials said after federal judges sided against the state in both cases last week
Seattle Times: Preserve Marriage Washington has amended its instructions for churches collecting money to help overturn the state’s same-sex marriage law, but campaign-finance officials say the language still doesn’t comply with the law.
Dale Carpenter at the Volokh Conspiracy: In Minnesota, pro- and anti-gay marriage activists are fighting over political campaign disclosure laws, though this time the usual roles are reversed. On August 17, the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board ruled that the group working to defeat a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage does not have to disclose the name of a Catholic contributor to the “No” campaign. ”John Doe,” who works for a Catholic organization in Minnesota, gave $600 to Minnesotans United for All Families, the main group opposing the amendment.
NJ.com: New Jersey will be the stage for what’s likely to be a brutal campaign this fall, but it won’t have anything to do with the presidential election. For the first time in the state’s modern history, the New Jersey Supreme Court — an institution meant to be isolated from politics — will be subjected to a popular referendum reeking of politics.
Advocate.com: The Arizona Republic called the race for Sinema around 12:30 a.m. Wednesday. She defeated former Arizona Democratic Party chairman Andrei Cherny and state Senate minority leader David Schapira, taking 42.5% of the vote with 64.5% of precincts reporting.
KIMATV.com: Money and politics very often go hand in hand, sometimes a little too closely. That’s why the state is taking a closer look at the Yakima Diocese and how it’s supporting Preserve Marriage Washington.
KENS5.com: The Secret Service is looking into a sign posted in Victoria, Texas. The sign says “Pray for Obama”, but it’s the scripture quoted below those words that is raising eyebrows: Psalms 109:8. Psalms 109:8 reads, “Let his days be few, and let another take his office.”
AP: Leftist presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Friday that he is refusing to recognize the results of Mexico’s presidential election . . .
Blog of the Legal Times: The former senator told the dozens of lawyers gathered that they have “a lot of work to do to make sure this election is not stolen,” saying that President Obama will “stop at nothing” to get the votes he needs to win. Bond said he “has a feeling” that the DOJ won’t crack down on election irregularities.
ACLU: A U.S. District Court today blocked Texas’ new voter ID law because it discriminates against minorities and conflicts with the federal Voting Rights Act . . . For a copy of the decision, go to: www.aclu.org/voting-rights/texas-voter-id-decision
AP: Washington’s campaign finance watchdog says the state’s Catholic churches can’t collect donations from parishioners for the campaign seeking to overturn the state’s gay marriage law.
The ballot question on a proposed constitutional amendment implementing a photographic identification requirement for Minnesota voters is not so unreasonable and misleading as to be a palpable evasion of the constitutional requirement in Minn. Const. art. IX, § 1, that constitutional amendments shall be submitted to a popular vote.
Volokh Conspiracy: Prof. Mike Dorf has a post at Dorf on Law describing the brief he coauthored on behalf of the Association of American Law School in Fisher v. University of Texas. The gist of the brief is that if the Supreme Court reasons that Texas may not engage in affirmative action preferences because its race-neutral ten-percent plan already created a “diverse” class, this could mean that all institutions of higher education, including law schools, that seek racial and ethnic diversity would need to replace their current admissions policies with a rote, percentage-based admissions system to comply with the Constitution and federal law.
NY Times: Derek McCoy, the director of the Maryland Marriage Alliance, which opposes same-sex marriage, said: “I think what we’re going to prove here is marriage is on the table, and marriage does matter. And because it does matter, Marylanders are engaged.”
GOP officials accuse Romney of ‘power grab’: Say he’s trying to rig rules for 2016 delegate selection
Washington Times: Senior GOP officials are accusing the Romney campaign’s chief attorney, Ben Ginsberg, of pushing through a rules change for delegate selection that would give Mitt Romney enormous power over the primary process should he win the White House and seek re-election in 2016. “It shifts the power to select delegates from the state party to the [party’s presidential] candidate,” Republican National Committee Vice Chairman Jim Bopp told The Washington Times on Sunday. “And it would make the Republican Party a top-down, not bottom-up, party.”
PennLive.com: Six justices on the state’s Supreme Court stand to play a bigger role in determining the outcome of this year’s elections in Pennsylvania than any other voter.
Citizen Link: Justice David Wiggins was one of the seven Iowa Supreme Court justices that voted to legislate the state’s new marriage redefinition from the bench in the 2009 Varnum v. Brien case. In 2010, three of the seven justices faced the voters in a retention election (an up or down vote of approval/disapproval held every set number of years) and lost their jobs. Now it’s Wiggins’ turn to face the music . . .
his weekend the New York Times weighed in to defend Justice Wiggins. According to the Times, Republicans are “stoking intolerance and further politicizing a retention election meant to weed out incompetent or corrupt judges.” The paper’s editors apparently forgot to read the Iowa Constitution, which does not guarantee a right to gay marriage. On the other hand, the accountability mechanism that the Times deplores, the retention election, appears explicitly in the text of Article V, Section 17 . . .
Bloomberg: Four of the court’s nine justices will be at least 74 years old on Inauguration Day in January — the first time that will have occurred in 28 years. Their ages suggest that one or more may be off the bench within the next four years, letting either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney appoint a successor and leave a decades-long legal imprint.
WFMZ.com: Pennsylvania judge on Wednesday refused to stop a tough new voter identification law from going into effect, which Democrats said will suppress votes among President Barack Obama’s supporters.
Center for American Progress: Legislators in 24 states proposed legislation during the past legislative session (2011–2012) that would enable governors to replace competent state judges, a power that would, in practice, result in more conservative replacements in states across the country. Legislators in Missouri, Florida, and Arizona managed to place referendums on this November’s ballot that if approved by voters would severely restrict judicial independence and belie the promise of fairness before the law
LA Times: Four conservatives squared off in a Republican U.S. Senate primary here Tuesday, but it’s the Democrat that one of them will face come November who figures to transform the battle for an open seat into a national showcase. Tammy Baldwin, a veteran congresswoman from Madison who had no primary opponent, would become the first openly gay member of the staid upper chamber if she won.
Montgomery Advertiser: Democratic officials did clear Lyon, 60, of campaign finance violations registered in a complaint filed with the party last week. However, they cited Lyon’s statements about gays and lesbians. In comments made on Facebook, Lyon called homosexuals and those who support same-sex marriage “an abomination of God.”
Cincinnati.com: Sharon Kennedy had one big advantage last year when she launched her campaign to become the first Butler County resident elected to the Ohio Supreme Court in almost 150 years. She’s a Republican.
Jeffrey Toobin at the New Yorker: A new report, issued yesterday by the left-leaning Center for American Progress, shows that the race for control of state judiciaries has become a rout. The report, entitled “Big Business Taking over State Supreme Courts,” found that . . .
SCOTUS Blog’s Petition of the Day highlights the election regulation case: National Organization for Marriage v. McKee.
Carrie Severino at National Review: Iowa’s supreme-court judges are initially selected by an unaccountable lawyer-dominated commission, via the system known as the Missouri Plan. As in other states, that method of selection has tilted Iowa’s judicial branch to the left on a range of issues, including gay marriage. And just as the people of Iowa demand more accountability, Justice Wiggins and his allies at the Times make the case for less.
Des Moines Register: A socially conservative political rally at a Waukee church Saturday served as the kickoff for a renewed effort to throw out the Iowa Supreme Court justices who made same-sex marriage legal. The activist group Iowans for Freedom will run a campaign this fall against the retention of Justice David Wiggins . . .
Rachel Alexander at Townhall: One of only two right-leaning justices who has served on the Washington Supreme Court in recent years is in the battle of his life to regain his seat. As a result of his freedom of religion, sanctity of marriage, gun rights, and the unborn, former Justice Richard Sanders has been a lightening rod for attacks from the left and the biased media. Those attacks finally cost him reelection in 2010, after serving on the high court for three terms since 1995.
Scott Klusendorf at Baptist Press: In 2008, a handful of notable pro-life evangelicals and Catholics threw their support behind a presidential candidate sworn to uphold elective abortion as a fundamental right. They argued that doing so constituted an enlightened pro-life vote that was morally superior to the narrow party politics of religious conservatives.
Collin Levy at Wall Street Journal (via Google): Kansas Governor Sam Brownback is smiling this morning after yesterday’s GOP primaries in his state delivered a fresh batch of conservative lawmakers. In a state where Republicans heavily dominate the House and Senate, groups of liberal Republicans have lately formed coalitions with Democrats to derail the Governor’s agenda, including pro-growth tax cuts.
Palm Beach Post: A lawsuit by a conservative legal organization looking to remove from the ballot the last three Florida Supreme Court justices named by a Democratic governor was dismissed Wednesday by a Leon County circuit judge.
Religion Clause Blog: Missouri voters yesterday approved state Constitutional Amendment 2 by a vote of 82.8% in favor and 17.2% against. (Official results.) The measure was described briefly on the ballot . . .
PR Newswire on the Sacramento Bee: Personhood Colorado submitted signatures to the Secretary of State’s office today for the Colorado Personhood Amendment. The signatures submitted totaled 112,121, although only 86,105 were required.
The News Tribune: Washington Supreme Court Justices Susan Owens and Steve Gonzalez easily retained their seats in Tuesday’s primary, while Seattle appeals lawyer Sheryl Gordon McCloud and former Justice Richard Sanders were leading a crowded field seeking to replace the retiring Tom Chambers.
AP: Conservative Republicans who’ve been working to push GOP moderates out of state legislatures in a large section of the country have scored big victories in Kansas . . .
LifeNews: In one of the largest voter registration campaigns of its kind, two leading prolife organizations are working to try to register as many as five million new pro-life voters and to get them to the polls this November.
Sacramento Bee (AP): The Los Angeles Times ( http://lat.ms/P1yH4L) says the committee failed to properly file public reports disclosing late contributions and contributions of more than $5,000. The committee also failed to properly disclose an anonymous $10,000 contribution.
Washington Examiner: “I’m leaning toward thinking that the Republicans will have a majority in both houses of Congress,” pollster Ron Faucheux, president of Clarus Research Group, told The Washington Examiner.
FoxNews: The Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee have filed a lawsuit to block a new state law allowing men and women in uniform to vote up until the Monday right before an election, while the cutoff on early voting for the rest of the public is three days earlier.
NPR: A landmark federal law used to block the adoption of state voter identification cards and other election rules now faces unprecedented legal challenges. A record five federal lawsuits filed this year challenge the constitutionality of a key provision in the Voting Rights Act.
Georgia Right to Life on the Standard Newswire: Tuesday’s non-binding GOP primary results showed that a super majority (66% of voters) expressed support for amending the state constitution to grant the “paramount right to life” to all innocent human beings from their earliest biological beginning until natural death. The Amendment question won in 158 of 159 counties, garnering 593,250 votes of the 902,512 cast statewide. In most counties the “YES” vote was between 71% to 78%.
Washington Examiner: A federal court in Washington, DC, held last week that political appointees appointed by President Obama did interfere with the Department of Justice’s prosecution of the New Black Panther Party.
Politico: Tennessee multimillionaire Andy Miller has been warning for years about the lurking threat he says Sharia law poses to America. But this summer, his anti-Islam campaign has become the main act of a riveting Middle Tennessee congressional race, as Miller has pumped hundreds of thousands of dollars into a pair of super PACs aiming to take out GOP freshman Rep. Diane Black in her Thursday primary.
Incumbent David Medina, on the state’s highest civil court since 2004, boasts support from Gov. Rick Perry, six retired Republican Supreme Court justices, 22 members of the Texas Legislature or U.S. Congress and several politically influential groups, including Texans for Lawsuit Reform and the Texas Medical Association. Challenger John Devine, a former district judge, boasts support from members of prominent religious and conservative groups, including Eagle Forum, Concerned Women of Texas and Liberty Institute, which fights legal battles on behalf of Christian priorities and issues.
Religion Clause Blog: Hoyt v. City of El Paso, Texas, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 104501 (WD TX, July 10, 2012), presents a claim by an El Paso church and its pastor that Texas and El Paso city officials have chilled the church’s right to circulate recall petitions aimed at the city’s mayor and two city council members because of their role in restoring health benefits to same-sex and unmarried domestic partners of city employees.
AP: Congressional Republicans are striking out against the Justice Department, saying its decision to contest several state voter ID laws shows the agency isn’t concerned with the integrity of the vote.
TPM: The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division has launched a formal investigation into whether Pennsylvania’s voter ID law discriminates against minorities, TPM has learned.
Politico: Four Supreme Court justices enter the next term in their 70s, and any changes during the next presidential term could tip the balance of the court on some of the nation’s hottest social issues, including same-sex marriage, civil rights and abortion.
Texas Tribune: In nearly every speech Ted Cruz delivers in his bid for an open U.S. Senate seat, the former Texas solicitor general repeatedly mentions the U.S. Supreme Court.
Washington Post: Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) really wants a deal to open a sixth casino in his state. So much so that he plans to unveil a draft bill for legislators to eyeball on Friday. His goal is to get it approved in a special session. And if that happens, then Maryland voters get the final say at the ballot box in November. It’s this prospect that has proponents of the state’s marriage-equality law very nervous.
(AP) KGWN.tv: Part Karl Rove and part Pat Robertson, Schubert is managing four statewide campaigns where the issue is on the ballot in the fall – in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington. He’s trying to preserve a winning streak in which conservatives have put anti-gay marriage laws on the books in 32 states in the last decade.
Chicago Tribune: The head of Libya’s largest Islamist party refused on Wednesday to concede defeat in its first free election in almost half a century, accusing his main liberal rival of “tricking” voters with disingenuous commitments to Islam.
Findlaw: Voters in Los Angeles County will have their say on porn condom usage in the upcoming November ballot. It’s hard to believe that the average person cares about this issue. Yet the AIDS Healthcare Foundation was able to secure enough votes to qualify the measure for the ballot.
Boston Globe: Liberal parties held a lead Wednesday in partial results from Libya’s first parliamentary election, on the same day that the head of the interim government stated his country would not be ruled by Islamists.
Fox2Now.com (includes video): The measure asks voters to decide whether Governor Jay Nixon should be prohibited from setting up a health insurance exchange without an approving vote from the people or the legislature.
The Hill: The FCC’s rule will require television broadcasters to post information about political advertisements online.
Washington Post: “I have determined that final certification … is warranted at this time,” State Elections Administrator Linda H. Lamone said in a letter to Derek McCoy, executive director of the Maryland Marriage Alliance.