Judge also refuses to put his ruling on hold during any possible appeal.
WASHINGTON — Arizona’s ban on same-sex couples’ marriages is unconstitutional, a federal judge ruled on Friday.
U.S. District Court Judge John Sedwick struck down the state’s ban based on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision striking down Idaho and Nevada’s similar bans.
Additionally, he refused to grant a stay of his opinion, meaning the decision goes into effect immediately.
The Supreme Court of the United States may be poised to give the Republican Party a big gift — more seats in Arizona’s delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives.
The Supreme Court of the United States may be poised to give the Republican Party a big gift — more seats in Arizona’s delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives.
In 2012, Democratic House candidates received nearly 1.4 million more votes than Republicans. Yet Republican John Boehner, and not Democrat Nancy Pelosi, is Speaker of the House due to the way congressional districts are drawn in several states. Gerrymandering by Republican state lawmakers played a significant role in allowing Republicans to keep control of the House. Indeed, a Republican organization bragged after the 2012 election that gerrymandering “paved the way to Republicans retaining a U.S. House majority in 2012.”
Yet, despite the anti-democratic effects of gerrymandering and other quirks of America’s legislative redistricting process — Republicans currently enjoy a 233-199 seat advantage in the House — the 2012 House elections could have gone even worse for Democrats if it wasn’t for an Arizona redistricting commission which draws that state’s congressional maps with input from both political parties. Under the maps drawn by that commission, Democrats currently control 5 of Arizona’s 9 congressional seats.
Arizona Republicans are not fond of this commission, which was created by a ballot initiative in 2000. In 2011, Gov. Jan Brewer (R-AZ) called a special session of the GOP-controlled state legislature to impeach commission chair Collen Mathis. Though the state senate voted to remove Mathis from office, the Arizona Supreme Court reinstated her. Under Arizona law, the commission chair may be removed for “substantial neglect of duty, gross misconduct in office or inability to discharge the duties of office,” but the state supreme court concluded that Brewer had not demonstrated that Mathis was guilty of any of these things.
On Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it would consider another round of litigation brought by Arizona’s GOP-controlled legislature. In Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, the state legislature asks the Supreme Court to effectively return the power to draw maps to state lawmakers.
The premise of this lawsuit is that the Constitution provides that “[t]he times, places and manner of holding elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each state by the Legislature thereof,” and the Arizona lawmakers argue that the word “Legislature” can only mean the body of lawmakers who are elected by the people of Arizona to make laws — not an independent commission separate from the state house and state senate. The problem with this lawsuit, however, is that it runs headlong into Supreme Court precedents that a lower court relied upon in order to dismiss this lawsuit.
In the 1916 case Ohio ex. rel. Davis v. Hildebrant, the Supreme Court considered a decision by the voters of Ohio to essentially veto the congressional maps drawn by state lawmakers. Under Ohio’s Constitution, “the legislative power was expressly declared to be vested not only in the Senate and House of Representatives of the State, constituting the General Assembly, but in the people in whom a right was reserved by way of referendum to approve or disapprove by popular vote any law enacted by the General Assembly.” Thus, while the General Assembly had the power to make laws, including laws drawing legislative maps, the people of Ohio can overrule their elected representatives through a referendum.
In Hildebrant, the Supreme Court rejected the argument that the power to draw legislative lines must be vested exclusively in the state house and state senate. Indeed, the Court’s opinion suggests that the word “Legislature” can refer to the people of the state as a whole when the state’s constitution gives them the power to make or repeal laws through initiative or referendum. “[T]he referendum constituted a part of the state constitution and laws,” the Court explained, “and was contained within the legislative power.”
Sixteen years later, in a case called Smiley v. Holm, the Court explained that the word “Legislature” should not be read so hyper-literally as to prevent a governor from vetoing a state’s redistricting plan. An executive veto, the Court held, “is a matter of state polity” that the Constitution “neither requires nor excludes.”
More recently, in 2012, a federal appeals court explained that the word “Legislature,” as it is used in the Constitution, “encompasses the entire lawmaking function of the state.” So when Arizona gave its people the power to enact ballot initiatives, it gave them the power to enact ballot initiatives that create a redistricting commission.
Nevertheless, there are some warning signs that the Supreme Court’s right flank wants to upset this balance. In Bush v. Gore — yes, THAT Bush v. Gore — Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas joined an opinion arguing that the Constitution prohibited Florida’s state courts from reaching certain interpretations of the state’s election law. This opinion relied on a constitutional provision providing that presidential electors must be selected “as the Legislature” of a state directs. Thus, it argued, the judicial branch of a state could not act in a way that these conservative justices viewed as counter to the legislature’s intent.
Should the justices apply a similar reasoning in the Arizona case, then the state’s redistricting commission is in trouble. It doesn’t take much imagination to figure out what will happen if that occurs. Republicans controlled the most recent redistricting process in six key states that President Obama won in 2012. This was the result of that GOP control:
Should the Supreme Court strike down Arizona’s redistricting commission, it is likely that Arizona’s congressional districts will soon look much like Ohio’s, Virginia’s and Pennsylvania’s.
Source: Ian Millhiser for ThinkProgress
Arizona School District Fires Teacher For Not Letting Racist Kids Bully A Black Student (VIDEO) [TW: Racism, Bullying, Hate Speech, White Privilege]
When Aister arrived on the scene, the group had surrounded their victim. So, like any good teacher should do, she stepped in to protect the student from the bullies.
“He was called the n-word, ‘monkey,’ and ‘coon,’” Aister said during an interview with KNXV. And then she made it clear to the bullies that she wouldn’t let their actions continue.
If you’re picking on him, you’re picking on me. It’s not five against one, it’s five against two, and there will be no more taunting, teasing or racial names.
However, in what seems to be a plot to get revenge against Aister for getting their racist kids in trouble, parents accused her of threatening their poor innocent children and calling them names. In the end, Aister got fired and the racist kids apparently got off scot free.
The Fountain Hills Unified School District board voted to terminate Aister during a hearing on Monday and then quickly scattered like a bunch of rats having a spotlight shined on them as the petty parents cheered.
Here’s the video via Raw Story.
All Pam Aister did is defend a black student against a group of racist bullies who clearly intended to harm him, and rather than punish the students, school officials punished the teacher instead. Of course, this is Arizona we’re talking about, after all. You know, the state that once refused to recognize Martin Luther King Day and recently passed a law legalizing racial profiling? Yeah, that state.
The parents of these racist students claim that Aister told the bullies to “shut up” and made a comment about a student’s “ugly face.” That’s what they’re actually complaining about. That’s why they got Aister fired.
As a person who worked as an educator for a period of time, I can say that I’ve heard teachers tell kids to shut up. Even as a student, I can recall teachers doing the same thing. It happens. But none of them ever lost their job for it, nor should they have. As for the alleged “ugly face” comment, if these parents and school officials have a bigger problem with that than they do with the vicious racist names the bullies were hurling at a black student, they have seriously screwed up priorities.
Pam Aister should be back in the classroom teaching. Instead, she represents a reason why people will stay away from the education profession. What’s the point of being a teacher if you will be fired for trying to stop racism and bullying? It’s as if the school district actually wanted Aister to let the poor black kid get pummeled and verbally assaulted. Maybe that’s exactly what they expected her to do, and that is a truly frightening thought.
Let’s peer into a magic crystal ball at what the future may hold for Arizona. (Aside from punishing drought and venomous lizards.) We’re going to make a prediction here: Arizona’s about to get a major victory for marriage equality. It’s going to be strongly-written, unequivocal, and will build upon recent victories in neighboring states. How do…
Let’s peer into a magic crystal ball at what the future may hold for Arizona. (Aside from punishing drought and venomous lizards.)
We’re going to make a prediction here: Arizona’s about to get a major victory for marriage equality. It’s going to be strongly-written, unequivocal, and will build upon recent victories in neighboring states.
How do we know? Well, because last week US District Judge John Sedwick issued a minor ruling, buried in which are some extremely telling hints at a major decision soon to come.
Sedwick is overseeing the marriage litigation in Arizona, which has been proceeding at the usual pace for these sorts of cases. But last month, there was a major shift: one of the plaintiffs passed away, which introduced all kinds of time-sensitive concerns about death certificates and benefits. Sedwick needed to rule on those particular issues right away, rather than taking his time to write a thorough evaluation of the state’s marriage ban.
Sedwick’s ruling is pretty narrow, and applies to just one couple. But the route he takes illuminates exactly how he’s thinking, and it indicates that he’s about to hand us a pretty major win.
First of all, he makes short work of the state’s claim that the Baker case prevents him from issuing a ruling. Sedwick points out that Baker happened 42 years ago, and that the Windsor decision “eliminates any uncertainty” that Baker can be safely disregarded.
Then he turns his attention to the federal courts that have upheld marriage bans. There aren’t many, he says, and “none of these decisions are persuasive.” That’s another indication that he sees no reason to uphold Arizona’s ban.
Sedwick also has no time for the state’s claim that its marriage ban does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. “This argument lacks merit,” he scoffs, “the laws do discriminate.”
Another obvious signal.
Importantly, he uses the term “fundamental right” in reference to marriage. That’s a big deal, since it’s a lot easier to make a Due Process and Equal Protection Clause claim when fundamental rights are at stake. This isn’t just a hint that he’ll rule in favor of gay and lesbian couples. It’s a signal that he’ll rule strongly, using the language that our side needs in order to make a compelling case on appeal.
He concludes that section of the ruling by writing that the plaintiff “is likely to prevail on the merits.” Hooray! He basically just said, “everyone knows you guys are going to win.”
So what happens next? We sit back and wait for the Arizona decision, which could come at any moment. Then the losing side (which will probably not be us) will probably appeal to the Ninth Circuit.
That’s where things get complicated. The Ninth Circuit already has three marriage cases awaiting a decision, so the Arizona case will be playing catchup. The three-state decision could come at any moment — maybe before the Arizona ruling, or maybe after — but either way, there’s a strong consensus in the Ninth Circuit that marriage bans need to go.
Breaking news: Russell Pearce, the recalled-by-voters mastermind behind Arizona’s 1070 anti-immigration bill, is still a gigantic boil on the ass of humanity.
Let’s sterilize the men instead, especially if they think this is a good idea!
The protests will mirror those in Murrieta, California, which gained national attention this month when the city’s mayor and residents blocked buses carrying immigrant children who were going to be processed there.
In Oracle, anger has been spreading since Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu warned residents last week that immigrant children from Central America caught crossing the border illegally into the U.S. would be placed at the Sycamore Canyon Academy in Oracle. The academy houses troubled youth, many of whom have been through the criminal justice system.
Calls to the academy were not returned. A spokesman for the federal Department of Health and Human Services said the agency could not identify the locations of shelters for migrants in order to protect their identities and security.
"We don’t know who they are. We don’t know their health conditions. We don’t know a doggone thing because the federal government isn’t telling us anything," protest organizer Robert Skiba said.
Anger has been spreading since a massive surge in unaccompanied children crossing the border illegally began more than a month ago. Though largely considered a humanitarian crisis, the influx of immigrants has also become political fodder.
In a state known for its strict immigration laws, including SB1070, which many call the “show me your papers” law, attitudes are just as contentious.
The fallout began in late May when reports surfaced that immigration officials were dropping off hundreds of women and children at Phoenix and Tucson Greyhound bus stations after they had been caught crossing the border illegally.
Within a week, immigration authorities were flying hundreds of children who had crossed the border into Texas alone to be housed at the Border Patrol facility in Nogales. Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican, sharply criticized the move and demanded it stop. Republican candidates for governor have also chimed in. Some are expected to attend the rally on Tuesday.
But the children, if they arrive as expected, will not only be met by angry faces. Immigrant-rights groups are also planning to attend and counter-protest.
"They are using fear and hatred in hopes of generating demonstrations similar to recent events in Murrieta, California," said the Latino civil rights group Somos America. The group added that it "condemns those actions and seeks to provide a peaceful alternative to the fear-based panic which is being caused by the recklessness of tea party agitators and Sheriff Paul Babeu."
A pair of Peoria parents are accused of keeping two of their adoptive daughters in a twisted home “prison,” according to police.
Court documents obtained by New Times describe various treatments the 13- and 11-year-old girls faced: Being forced to sleep nude in the backyard, having their heads shaved, being forced to do barefoot running exercises, getting swatted with a paddle, and having to hand-write Bible verses for hours on end, among other things.
The parents, Johann and Kimery Jorg, confirmed “virtually every detail” the girls told a Child Protective Services caseworker. CPS was tipped off by health care workers who had been seeing the girls since they were adopted.
According to court documents, here’s how Kimery Jorg described the punishments to police:For lying, the child has to apologize for the lie, get swatted on the buttocks with a wooden paddle (# of swats equal to their age), have apple cider vinegar sprayed in their mouth (# of sprays equal to their age), hold it in their mouth for 15 seconds, swish it around for 15 seconds, then swallow. This is fallowed by a time-out of standing against a door wit hands behind the head for a number of minutes equal to their age plus one. After the time-out, the child can get a drink of water to remove the taste of the vinegar. Then the child must run outside in the heat for 60 minutes straight then write several bible verses 3 times each (# of verses equal to their age). If there are three or more mistakes the child must re-write the bible verses four times, then repeat, increasing to five, six, etc. for subsequent errors. The child must then explain the bible verses to their mother, and memorize and recite all the bible verses. If there are any mistakes, then time gets added to their 60 minute run. The punishment for stealing in the home is identical ,except with the added task of mopping the floor for 45 minutes followed by cleaning the tile grout for 45 minutes, or some other comparable task.Court documents note that the Jorgs are foster parents, and had initially taken in the girls after they were removed from abusive homes.
The girls told investigators that the punishments went beyond what their adoptive parents explained.
The girls explained the “prison” system they were living in. There was “regular prison” and “deep prison.” In regular prison, the girls were allowed to sleep on a towel on the ground inside the house, but had to go to the bathroom in a bucket no matter which “prison” they were in. The 13-year-old girl, who said she’d been in “deep prison” since Christmas, had to sleep outside in a tent. Neither girl was allowed to wear clothes, except the 11-year-old, who was allowed to wear a diaper, according to the documents.
The girls were home-schooled by Kimery Jorg, but the older girl told investigators she was very far behind because of all of the running and Bible-verse writing.
Police asked the Jorgs about all the punishment, and about the “lying” and “stealing” they claim the girls do. Kimery Jorg told police the girls were punished after she found a single breath mint missing during a recent family trip to Colorado. In another instance, she claimed the other girl stole “22 items” from a relative’s home, but Jorg couldn’t identify a single item, according to the court documents.
Johann Jorg didn’t have a better explanation — police say he described a situation two or three years ago in which the older girl took some grapes she wasn’t supposed to, and possibly a recent incident involving beef jerky.
Perhaps that has something to do with the “prison food” the girls told CPS workers they eat: Oatmeal for breakfast, prunes and crackers for lunch, and grits with salsa for dinner.
The 13-year-old girl was almost 5 feet tall, but weighed just 61 pounds, “not even registering on standard pediatric growth charts,” police note in court documents.
The older girl was hospitalized over concerns of “refeeding syndrome.”
According to the court documents, “This condition is usually seen with concentration camp survivors and the like.”
She also had abnormal growths on her legs, likely due to the combination of malnutrition and exercise, according to the documents.
When police served a search warrant at the house, they discovered, “Every wall and cabinet door (inside and out) in every room to include the kitchen, family room, office and bedrooms, was covered with pieces of paper outlining chore lists, house rules and consequences for breaking them. There were dozens of ‘post-it’ notes in the kitchen with messages about punishments that [the victims] still ‘owed’ to the parents.”
There were two other, even younger, children in the home, who weren’t subject to the “prison” treatment, apparently because they’re too young. CPS removed all four children from the home.
The Jorgs face felony child-abuse charges. Their bond was set at $100,000 each.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Florida congresswoman who leads the DNC, said it had received proposals from Birmingham, Alabama; Columbus, Ohio; Cleveland; New York; Philadelphia and Phoenix. Wasserman Schultz said the committee had “fantastic options” and a group of DNC officials will evaluate the cities and make
site visits as the committee considers its options.
The contenders include large cities familiar with holding major conventions and potential out-of-the-box picks.
New York’s proposal would stage the convention in Brooklyn, the home of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and a liberal stronghold. The New York bid creates the possibility that Clinton, the former secretary of state and the leading Democratic contender for president, could claim the party’s nomination in the state she once represented in the Senate.
New York officials have said they would hold the convention at the Barclays Center, the new home of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets.
With two cities in the mix, Ohio Democratic officials have pushed to hold the convention in their state, which remains among the nation’s most pre-eminent presidential battleground states.
Phoenix would give Democrats a way to connect with voters in Arizona, long eyed by the party as a potential swing state. Bill Clinton was the last Democrat to carry Arizona in a presidential election in 1996 but before that, Democrats had lost every presidential race in that state since Harry Truman in 1948.
Philadelphia was the site of the 2000 Republican convention, where George W. Bush was first nominated, and would allow Democrats to hold its event in the city where the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution was adopted.
Birmingham represented a surprise bid and would bring Democrats into a reliably Republican state. The last Democratic presidential candidate to carry Alabama was Jimmy Carter in 1976.
Fifteen cities were invited to submit bids but several deciding not to seek the convention, including Atlanta, Las Vegas, Miami, Orlando, Florida, and Chicago, the home of President Barack Obama.
Many factors determine the selection, most notably whether the city has the facilities to stage the pageantry and whether there are enough hotels to house the delegates and media descending on the region.
Republicans are considering four cities for its 2016 convention: Dallas, Denver, Cleveland and Kansas City, Missouri.
h/t: Ken Thomas at TPM
GOP'S DESPERATE MEASURES: GOPer Changes Name To Cesar Chavez, Becomes A Dem To Run In Heavily Hispanic District [TW: Racism, Ethnocentrism, White Privilege, Cultural Appropriation]
One failed GOP candidate will do just about anything to win in Arizona’s heavily Hispanic 7th congressional district — including switching parties and legally changing his name to that of Hispanic labor and civil rights icon Cesar Chavez.
The Arizona Capitol Times reported Monday that Scott Fistler, who launched a failed write-in campaign as a Republican against Rep. Ed Pastor (D-AZ) in 2012, successfully petitioned an Arizona superior court last November to change his legal name to Cesar Chavez. Chavez also became a Democrat earlier this year before filing to run for the congressional seat being vacated by Pastor, who is retiring.
Reached for comment by the Capitol Times, Chavez said he had been “flooded with calls and emails” and was no longer speaking to the press. He also told the newspaper that if he did decide to answer its questions, he would not discuss the name change.
“There is just simply not enough Cesar Chavez to go around,” he wrote, as quoted by the Capitol Times. “We may resume questions starting May 10 [sic].”
The candidate formerly known as Scott Fistler also prominently displayed photos on his website of crowds carrying signs and wearing T-shirts with the name “Chavez.” But the photos, as the Capitol Times pointed out, were actually of Venezuelans rallying for deceased former President Hugo Chavez.
The State Democratic Party finds Chavez’s candidacy fishy. The Capitol Times reported that voter records show Chavez became a Democrat on April 28, even though he filed to run for Congress as a Democrat in February. DJ Quinlan, the state’s Democratic Party chair, told the Capitol Times that the Party’s legal team was determining whether to bring a challenge against Chavez.
“He’s either trying to make a mockery of the system, or of Democrats, or of the Hispanic community,” Arizona Democratic Party Chairman DJ Quinlan told the Capitol Times.
Images via Tea Party Cheer, Cesar Chavez for Congress in 2014.
Source: Catherine Thompson for Talking Points Memo
FLORENCE, Ariz. (AP) — A Republican businessman running for Arizona’s 1st Congressional District says most mass shootings in the U.S. are committed by Democrats.
The Arizona Daily Star reports () that Gary Kiehne made the remarks at a Republican primary debate Saturday in Florence.
Kiehne, a Springerville rancher, told the 60-member audience that “99 percent of (mass shootings) have been by Democrats pulling their guns out and shooting people.”
State Rep. Adam Kwasman, also a candidate and was there, said he supports gun rights. House Speaker Andy Tobin, who is also running, did not attend.
The debate was put on by the Pinal County Republican Committee.
The Aug. 26 primary election will decide who faces incumbent U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, a Democrat. The mostly rural district is the state’s largest district by area.
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) has vetoed a bill that would have allowed individuals to bring guns into some public buildings.
House Bill 2339, one of four pro-gun bills passed by the state legislature earlier this month, would have allowed concealed carry permit holders to bring their firearms into buildings that do not have security guards or metal detectors at the entrance. The bill would not have applied to schools.
In vetoing the bill, Brewer said the legislation would “establish an unfunded mandate on our state and local governments” by requiring agencies that want to keep guns out of their buildings to spend funds on guards and security equipment.
"I am a strong proponent of the Second Amendment, and I have signed into law numerous pieces of legislation to advance and protect gun rights,” Brewer wrote in her veto message, according to the Arizona Daily Star. “However, I cannot support this measure in its proposed form.”
As The Republic notes, Brewer vetoed similar bills in 2011 and 2012.
The Republican governor also rejected HB 2517, which would have fined local government officials up to $5,000 for enacting gun restrictions exceeding state regulations. The offending officials would have also faced removal from office.
"A person or organization who perceives that an ordinance is illegal may already seek remedies through the legal system," Brewer wrote in her veto, calling the measure “unnecessary.”
Kobach Mocked 'Procrastinators' Disenfranchised By His Voter ID Law, Claimed 'Nobody's Rights Have Been Suspended'
Yesterday, Kansas secretary of state Kris Kobach and Arizona attorney general Tom Horne scored a big victory in federal court when a Kansas district court judge ruled that federal voter registration forms in both states must require voters to show proof of citizenship.
The proof-of-citizenship requirement, which Kobach shepherded through his state’s legislature, has created a huge mess, leaving the registrations suspended of nearly 16,000 voters who hadn’t or couldn’t provide the necessary documents.
Throughout the process, Kobach has dismissed the concerns of voting rights advocates and the growing chorus of protest from elections officials, newspaper editorial boards and others in Kansas. When 12,000 voters had their registration thrown in limbo, Kobach said it wasn’t a “major problem” because it was “only a tiny percentage” of the total voting population. (By contrast, the supposed reason for the law was to prevent a handful of fraudulent votes cast over a dozen years). When it was announced that only 72 percent of registered voters were able to meet the new requirement, Kobach boasted that “that’s actually an extraordinarily high percentage” and blamed “procrastination” for the 28 percent without complete registrations.
In a speech that Kobach gave in January to the Kansas Sovereignty Coalition, a Tenth Amendment group, Kobach mocked the Kansans then totalling 19,000 – whose voter registrations were in limbo as “the 28 percent procrastinators,” claiming that “nobody’s been denied any rights.”
“Nobody’s rights have been suspended,” he claimed. “Those 19,000 people haven’t completed their registration yet. They can complete it tomorrow and vote tomorrow if they want to. Nobody’s been denied any rights, they just haven’t finished it yet.”
“Oh and by the way, 72 percent of the people who have registered to vote since January 1, 2013, have completed their application and have sent in proof of citizenship. So those are the 28 percent procrastinators.”
“We should not get alarmed at all by the number that the left continually throws around,” he said.
Tellingly, when Kobach first mentions “voting rights,” and audience member loudly corrects him: “privilege, privilege.”
h/t: Miranda Blue at RWW
Tough-talking Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio told Newsmax on Wednesday that he is considering a run for Arizona governor now that Jan Brewer has said that she would not seek a third term as the state’s top Republican after five years in office.
America’s #1 Racist Sheriff will make Governors Jan Brewer and Evan Mecham look sane by comparison.
Frankly, he belongs in jail (in a jumpsuit) for his heinous crimes committed while running the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.
BREAKING: Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer says she will not seek reelection - @abc15 (h/t: @MicahGrimes)
BREAKING: Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has vetoed #SB1062.
Arizona has avoided another Evan Mecham scenario.