Trump prepares to name SCOTUS nominee, and the news for July 9, 2018
As Trump prepares to nominate someone for the Supreme Court, the Brennan Center’s Larry Norden asks a key question in this Newsday op-ed, “But senators need to look past the rhetoric and the pitched battles and make a choice: Will they support a nominee who seeks to dismantle democracy, or one who pledges to at least uphold the constitutional principles of a free and fair democracy?”
Someone from a Heritage or Federalist Society-approved list is not likely someone who believes the Constitution protects all of us, instead of just the wealthy and powerful. In fact, of the finalists being mentioned, there’s already some indication of where they stand. Judge Raymond Kethledge ruled in favor of the Ohio Republican Party’s effort to suppress the vote. Last week, Rick Hasen noted that Judge Brett Kavanaugh, “could well vote with a new SCOTUS majority to hold that laws effectively limiting foreign influence in our elections violate the First Amendment.” While Judge Amul Thapar appears to be off the shortlist, here’s a letter we signed last year opposing his initial court nomination because of his extreme views on money in politics.
Sen. Gillibrand tweeted, “As we fight to make sure you have a say on the next justice, we need to raise our voices to restore fairness to our campaign finance system. We have to overturn Citizens United.”
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Sen. Jeff Merkley says of Gorsuch and this vacancy, “That seat was stolen specifically to keep Citizens United in place, the ability to have billionaires spend hundreds of millions of dollars to control Congress. The Koch Brother cartel succeeded in winning control in 2014 through the use of Citizens United and they’ve run the Senate since.
This weekend, Sen. Blumenthal said on This Week, “The president has outsourced this decision…it is extraordinary. …I’ve never seen a president of the United States in effect make himself a puppet of outside groups.”
The Daily Beast takes a look at Leonard Leo, who has way too much power in all of this: “He figured out twenty years ago that conservatives had lost the culture war. Abortion, gay rights, contraception—conservatives didn’t have a chance if public opinion prevailed. So they needed to stack the courts.” And Roll Call looks at the millions in spending (that has already started): “The outside advertising deluge began well before President Donald Trump formally named his choice to replace retiring Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy.” And MapLight.
Congressman Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) had this op-ed back home last Wednesday: “But why should we wait for courts to act on blatantly unfair and undemocratic districts, or the corrosive effect of unlimited money in elections? Why not stop poisoning ourselves, rather than treating the symptoms?” He calls for fair redistricting, small-donor public financing, and more.
The Baltimore City Council is expected to vote a final time today to refer an initiative to the ballot to begin the process of creating a small-donor matching system there. Every Voice and a bunch of national and local groups sent the mayor letters Friday encouraging her to sign it. The Sun’s editorial page agrees.
It appears that Marc Ehrlich–who used Montgomery County’s new matching fund program in his race for county executive–won the Democratic primary for County Executive over a self-funding CEO. That means both candidates in the general will be participants in the program. In Connecticut, three of the five Republican candidates for governor are seeking–or have already received–to participate in that state’s Citizens’ Election Program.
Love this: “NH Rebellion held its fifth annual Seacoast walk on Saturday with its main message being the need to get money out politics. The walk began in Kittery, Maine, at John Paul Jones Park, where the crowd learned about Maine’s clean election laws. Participants then walked across Memorial Bridge to a rally in Market Square.”
“Federal Election Commission (FEC) officials wrote in documents released Friday that the Trump Organization may have made an illegal contribution to the Trump campaign by having a staffer assist Melania Trump with her speech at the Republican National Convention, but dismissed the complaint because the action was too minor to be considered a violation of law. ”
I love this – Libby Watson talked to some DC lobbyists for Splinter about whether people who tear families apart and keep kids in cages can get another job in Washington after they leave the administration. You get one guess on their answer.
Ryan Cooper is right on: rejecting corporate PAC money or big donations is a political winner, and, it’s probably good for the policymaking process too.
“Campaign finance is shaping up to be a key issue for challengers of incumbent Rep. Peter Welch in the Democratic primary for Vermont’s sole U.S. House seat next month. Both Dan Freilich and Ben Mitchell say that campaign finance and Welch’s acceptance of donations from political committees associated with large corporations are among their top concerns.”
U.S. negotiators threatened Ecuador with trade sanctions over its resolution encouraging breastfeeding, “embracing the interests of infant formula manufacturers.” As the Times notes, “The confrontation was the latest example of the Trump administration siding with corporate interests on numerous public health and environmental issues.”
Florida Gov. Rick Scott raised $10.7 million in the second quarter for his bid to unseat Sen. Bill Nelson. As he tries to portray an outsider image, “Still, the few glimpses into Scott’s campaign spending that so far are available show he’s hardly an outsider, but rather is relying heavily on support from well-lined pockets of political and corporate power.”
Scott Pruitt’s parting gift to America: more air pollution to benefit one particular donor: “Mr. Pruitt had championed the rollback, claiming that the E.P.A. did not have the legal authority to force companies like Fitzgerald to significantly reduce production of glider trucks. But that move came only after Fitzgerald donated tens of thousands of dollars to Representative Diane Black, Republican of Tennessee, who is a candidate for governor there, and who asked Mr. Pruitt to reverse the rule.”
All those people who wanted to prosecute Rosie O’Donnell last month better start looking into this: “Sen. Ted Cruz’s Senate campaign committee has received three letters from the Federal Election Commission this election cycle for accepting campaign contributions that exceeded federal limits.”
Norm Eisen joins one former Bush US Attorney and one former Obama US Attorney on this op-ed: “Our work under presidents of both parties has taught us that prosecutorial independence and investigative confidentiality are key principles without which our justice system cannot function. We are concerned that congressional attacks on Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein are undermining these critical values — and jeopardizing the rule of law.”
Sounds like a guy who wouldn’t look extra kindly on foreign government and corporate trade groups that spent money at his property during his presidency: “Nearly all of the $706,000 in donations made by the Donald J. Trump Foundation in Palm Beach County since 2008 went to charities that hosted lavish fundraisers at Mar-a-Lago — the president’s highest-profile business in the county.
“More than one-third of lobbyists who have registered as foreign agents with the Justice Department since President Donald Trump took office are representing countries with Trump-related business interests, according to a MapLight review.”
CREW finally got hold of some FBI records from Tom DeLay’s case.
Looks like Andrew Cuomo is trying to find some small donors before the next reporting period.
In San Francisco: “The ‘Anti-Corruption and Accountability Ordinance’ went into effect July 1, barring members of city boards and commissions from fundraising for those who appoint them.”
West Virginia Citizen Action’s Julie Archer has this op-ed: “The recent Supreme Court spending scandal and charges against Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry are an opportunity to bring greater trust, accountability, and transparency to both the judicial system and the electoral process.”