SCOTUS Declines to Kill Off Free and Fair Elections - The Wednesday AM Quickie 6/28/23

Our little balcony garden is coming in nicely this year. Plants: I recommend them. - Corey

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Justices Say No to GOP Election-Rigging Scheme

The Supreme Court yesterday ruled on a closely watched case, Moore v. Harper, that sought to establish the crackpot "independent state legislature" theory as the law of the land. If the ruling had gone the other way, it would've given pro-Trump Republican state lawmakers another chance to overturn election results in 2024 and install their preferred candidate as president. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the 6-3 decision, in which the majority found that the "Elections Clause [in Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution] does not insulate state legislatures from the ordinary exercise of state judicial review." As the Los Angeles Times puts it, the ruling "maintain[s] the traditional system of checks and balances."

The majority decision will make it harder for the dominant political party in a state to gerrymander district voting maps to lock in control of most of the seats. And it will cut off claims that state lawmakers are free to override state courts in setting the rules for casting votes and counting ballots.
Democrats were surprised and cheered by the outcome.

Former President Barack Obama called the ruling "a resounding rejection of the far-right theory that has been peddled by election deniers and extremists seeking to undermine our democracy." Justices Clarence Thomas, Sam Alito and Neil Gorsuch dissented.

In related news as the court wraps up its current term this week:

  • Court Sides with Online Stalkers "In a 7-2 decision, the court overturned the stalking conviction of a Colorado man who sent hundreds of disturbing and alarming messages to Coles Whalen, a singer and songwriter." via the LA Times.
  • Justices Won't Force School Girls to Wear Skirts The court declined to hear an appeal from a North Carolina charter school that wanted to female students to wear skirts for the sake of "chivalry." via the Washington Post.
  • Alito's Wife Holds a Lucrative Oil Lease in Oklahoma "There need not be a specific case involving the drilling rights associated with a specific plot of land for Alito to understand what outcomes in environmental cases would buttress his family's net wealth," says Revolving Door Project founder Jeff Hauser. via the Intercept.
  • House Democrats Press Roberts to Investigate Thomas "Despite your insistence that the Court can police itself, you have provided no rationale or vision for how the Court will do so," wrote New York Rep. Dan Goldman and 17 others. via NBC News.

Senate Democrats Fault FBI, DHS Over Jan. 6

A new report by the majority staff of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, titled "Planned in Plain Sight," says the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security ignored "a massive amount of intelligence information" ahead of the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol insurrection. Per the Associated Press:

Among the multitude of overlooked intelligence was a December 2020 tip to the FBI that members of the far-right group Proud Boys planned to be in Washington for the certification of President Biden's victory and that their "plan is to literally kill people" ... [T]he agencies were also aware of many social media posts that foreshadowed violence, some calling on Trump's supporters to "come armed" and storm the Capitol, kill lawmakers or "burn the place to the ground."

As the Washington Post paraphrases one of the report's conclusions, federal authorities failed to act on such clear warnings because they "simply didn't believe what they were being told."

DOJ IG Finds No Foul Play in Jeffrey Epstein's Death

The Miami Herald sums up the latest official findings on the well-connected serial sex trafficker's death in federal custody:

Prison officials and guards made numerous errors in overseeing Jeffrey Epstein when he was in federal custody, and tried to falsify records to cover their tracks, but the watchdog for the U.S. Department of Justice found no evidence to suggest that Epstein's death on Aug. 10, 2019, was anything other than a suicide, as the New York City medical examiner originally ruled.

Read the Inspector General's 128-page report here, and more coverage from Vice News, the New York Times, and NBC News.


  • Russian Mutineer Prigozhin Arrives in Belarus Aspiring Tsar Vladimir Putin admitted for the first time that "the support of the Wagner Group was completely provided by the [Russian] state"; U.S. intel sources also claimed Russian generals were in on the Wagner mutiny. via the New York Times.
  • Exonerated Central Park 5 Member on Track to Win New York City Council Seat "'I am here because Harlem, you believed in me. Harlem has spoken,' [Yusef] Salaam said at his party Tuesday evening at Harlem Tavern." via The City.
  • Record-Breaking Heat Wave Puts 52 Million Americans at Risk Meanwhile, severe thunderstorms led to flight cancelations across the East Coast, and the air quality is trash again thanks to wildfires. via NBC News and the Washington Post.
  • Trump's Indicted Valet Still Doesn't Have an Attorney Walt Nauta's arraignment in the stolen documents case has been delayed until July 6. via the Guardian.
  • Median U.S. Rents Down $38 from Last Year "Meanwhile, home prices are falling around the country after skyrocketing during the pandemic." via the Post.



That's how many more times transgender people in Denmark have attempted suicide than the rest of the population, according to a landmark study. One academic expert tells the New York Times the study refutes "political arguments suggesting suicide risk in these groups are exaggerated."


6/28: It's Hump Day! Emma hosts Mike German, fellow at The Brennan Center for Justice, to discuss a recent interview he did with Mireya Navarro, the editor-in-chief of Brennan en Espanol, entitled "Why White Supremacist Groups Attract Latinos to Their Ranks." Then Emma is joined by Matt Ford, staff writer at The New Republic, to discuss his recent piece entitled "Clarence Thomas Wants to Demolish Indian Law."


Vet Sounds Off on Why Nobody's Signing Up for The 'Woke' Military Anymore

Fellas, ladies: Is it woke to want to avoid PTSD?

MTG and Boebert CLASH Over Impeaching Biden

Boebert's non-answer suggests to me she lost that round.


"I observed that after two decades of custody, the suffering of those detained is profound, and it's ongoing. ... Every single detainee I met with lives with the unrelenting harms that follow from systematic practices of rendition, torture and arbitrary detention. ... The U.S. government must urgently provide judicial resolution, apology and guarantees of non-repetition."

-- United Nations special rapporteur on counter-terrorism and human rights Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, speaking on Monday after completing the first official visit by a U.N. expert to the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

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