Elections are taking place this weekend in Greece and Egypt that will have significant international impact. Supreme Court Justice Kennedy issued a temporary delay of a Ninth Circuit Court ruling that had suspended an Arizona law requiring proof of citizenship for registering to vote. In dueling litigation related to Governor Scott’s aborted purge of the State’s voter rolls, the Justice Department sued Florida while Florida sued the Department of Homeland Security. With the control of the State Senate at stake, GOP Senator Van Wanggaard has requested a recount of his recall election defeat. The Supreme Court considered whether to take up a case that would challenge their 2010 Citizens United decision and, in a rare unanimous vote, the Federal Election Commission ruled that campaigns could receive text message donations.
- Greece: In Greece, Fears That Voting Won’t Resolve Turmoil | NYTimes.com
- Egypt: High court nullifies parliamentary elections; calls for dissolution of parliament, raising new transition fears | The Washington Post
- Arizona: Delay in Arizona election case | SCOTUSblog
- Florida: Justice Department Sues Florida Over Voter Purge | NYTimes.com
- Florida: Florida to sue Department of Homeland Security in voter registration battle | The Hill
- Wisconsin: GOP lawmaker asks for recount in recall race | Fox News
- National: Mystery of Citizens United Sequel Is Format, Not Ending – How Justices Rule May Be an Issue Itself | NYTimes.com
- National: FEC: Campaigns can raise money via text message | Politico.com
Greeks head to the polls on Sunday for the second time in two months with a pervasive sense of dread that any government that comes to power will fail to resolve the political and economic turmoil that threatens the country’s future — and the financial stability of Europe itself. If the establishment center-right party New Democracy ekes out a victory in a race that polls show as tight, Greece still faces weeks or months of negotiations with European lenders over the terms of its austerity program, which all parties agree are too onerous to enforce on its rapidly shrinking economy. A victory by the leftist party Syriza promises a more serious confrontation, especially with Germany, over how — and perhaps whether — to keep Greece in the euro zone.
The winner will also face an uphill battle to inject confidence into a paralyzed economy that depends heavily on the continued infusion of money by the European Central Bank. The Frankfurt-based bank has become the last lifeline for a financial system that has all but seized up and a deficit-ridden government that has little ability to raise new revenues or borrow money to continue its operations.
On Monday, as Greece tries to determine whether it has a viable new government, leaders of the G-20 group of developed and emerging economies will gather in Mexico, where they are expected to debate ways to keep the Greek crisis and the weakness of the bigger economies of Spain and Italy from undermining the euro and dragging the global economy into a new recession.
- Greeks Divided as Election Stalemate Looms Again | VoA News
- Countdown to crucial election in Greece | euronews
- Election apocalypse: Greeks hoard canned food | Herald Sun
- Greeks approach election feeling angry, helpless and betrayed | The Irish Times
- Delay in Arizona election case | SCOTUSblog
Egypt’s highest court ruled Thursday that the Islamist-dominated parliament should be dissolved because one-third of its members were elected unlawfully, blunting the astonishing political ascent of the Muslim Brotherhood and imperiling the country’s transition to democratic rule. The decision and a second one safeguarding the presidential candidacy of former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq quickly strengthened the hand of forces linked to Egypt’s old regime, and significantly raised the stakes of the weekend’s runoff vote between Shafiq and the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi.
The parliamentary ruling washed away the modest system of checks and balances that Islamists and revolutionaries had sought to build in the 16 months since the ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak. Revolutionaries decried the court decisions, which cannot be appealed, as irrefutable proof that the country’s military chiefs had used the veneer of last year’s revolt to stage a coup. “We had people on the streets, but it was all usurped by the military,” said Nora Soliman, one of the founding members of the liberal Justice Party. “The military succeeded in playing on people’s fear of a state on the verge of collapse.”
- Mubarak verdict adds to tension before Egypt vote amid calls for more mass protests | Al-Arabiya
- The mother of the world: The birth of Egypt’s democracy | Al Jazeera
- Egypt election may hinge on court decision | The Eagle
- Presidential candidates file appeals to election commission, charging vote fraud | The Washington Post
- Egypt election run-off sparks protests | FT.com…
Justice Kennedy has issued a temporary order delaying the Ninth Circuit Court’s ruling, at least until further briefs are filed in the case. The Circuit Court mandate was due to be issued tomorrow, but now will be delayed until at least next Wednesday afternoon. The challengers to the Arizona citizenship proof requirement are to file a brief by Monday afternoon, with a state reply due by noon Wednesday. Earlier today, this post was updated to provide a link to the application, here. Arizona state officials asked the Supreme Court on Wednesday to allow election officials there to demand that all voters show proof of citizenship before they may register to vote. The divided en banc Ninth Circuit Court ruled in April that the citizenship proof requirement conflicts with a 1993 federal law passed to make it easier for individuals to sign up to vote. The state took its plea for a delay of that ruling, for the duration of this year’s election season, to Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who has the option of acting alone or referring the issue to his eight colleagues. The application (11A1189) was filed in Arizona v. Gonzalez, et al. The en banc Ninth Circuit, over three judges’ dissents, had denied a stay last week.
The dispute over the citizenship requirement in Arizona has strung out in the federal courts for nearly eight years, after it was imposed by Arizona voters in “Proposition 200″ in 2004. The controversy has been to the Supreme Court once before, in 2006, when the Justices in a unanimous, summary ruling overturned a prior Ninth Circuit order against enforcement of that provision during the 2006 elections (Purcell v. Gonzalez, et al.). That decision, though, voiced no opinion on the validity of the citizenship mandate. It has now been reviewed twice by Ninth Circuit panels (one including retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, sitting as a Circuit judge), and by the en banc Circuit Court.
As the new Arizona filing reached the Court, the case involves a fundamental constitutional dispute over the twin roles of Congress and the state legislatures in setting up the methods for conducting elections for federal offices. The Constitution gives the first option to write election laws to the states, but gives Congress the authority to override state provisions. That is what the en banc Ninth Circuit concluded that Congress had done, toward the citizenship proof requirement, when the national lawmakers passed the National Voter Registration Act of 1993. That Act specifies that a special “federal form” is generally to be used to facilitate registration. The Ninth Circuit majority concluded that, when the federal law and the state citizenship requirement were placed side by side, they did not work together “harmoniously,” so the state requirement had to yield.
Full Article: Delay in Arizona election case (FINAL UPDATE) : SCOTUSblog.
- Election chiefs skeptical of voter purge | Palm Beach Post
- National Voter Registration Act vs. Voter ID and Other Voter Access Challenges | Concurring Opinions
- Ruling on voter requirement mixed – will be appealed to Supreme Court | azcentral.com…
- Texas voter ID law unnecessary but state AG must defend it nonetheless | Fort Worth Star Telegram
- State allowed to keep law that demands proof of citizenship for voter registration | East Valley Tribune
The Department of Justice on Tuesday followed through on warnings that it would sue Florida over the state’s plan to remove noncitizens from its voter rolls. The lawsuit, filed in Federal District Court in Tallahassee, intensified a legal battle between the Obama administration and Republican leaders in Florida, a crucial swing state. Florida has asked county election officials to remove up to 2,600 voters who may be registered illegally. But the federal government’s suit says the state’s list is “outdated and inaccurate.”
The suit also says Florida cannot remove voters 90 days before an election (the state’s primary will be held on Aug. 14) and must have the Justice Department approve any changes to how voters register. “The Department of Justice has an overriding interest in protecting the rights of eligible citizens to register and vote free from unlawful burdens, while at the same time ensuring that ineligible persons do not register and vote in federal elections in violation of the law,” said Thomas E. Perez, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
- Voter Purge In Limbo As County Officials Await State Response To DOJ | TPM
- Florida to sue Department of Homeland Security in voter registration battle | The Hill
- Florida county elections supervisors won’t resume voter purge | MiamiHerald.com…
- Voter purge gets pushback from elections supervisors, U.S. Justice | Palm Beach Post
- Part of controversial Florida voter registration law struck down; votor roll purge ordered halted | Bradenton Herald
Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) said he will sue the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to move forward with his controversial attempt to purge the voter rolls in his state of ineligible voters. “I have a job to do to defend the right of legitimate voters,” Scott told Fox News on Monday. “We’ve been asking for the Department of Homeland Security’s database, SAVE, for months, and they haven’t given it to us. So this afternoon, we will be filing a lawsuit, the secretary of State of Florida, against the Department of Homeland Security to give us that database. We want to have fair, honest elections in our state and we have been put in a position that we have to sue the federal government to get this information.” Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner produced the lawsuit, filed in Washington, D.C. district court on Monday, shortly after, along with a statement. “For nearly a year, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has failed to meet its legal obligation to provide us the information necessary to identify and remove ineligible voters from Florida’s voter rolls,” Detzner said. “We can’t let the federal government delay our efforts to uphold the integrity of Florida elections any longer. We’ve filed a lawsuit to ensure the law is carried out and we are able to meet our obligation to keep the voter rolls accurate and current.”
Last week, the Department of Justice demanded Florida stop the voter-roll purge, saying it violated the federal Voting Rights Act (VRA) and the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) and was reliant on faulty Department of Motor Vehicle records to determine who is eligible to vote. The Scott administration responded with a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder saying it would continue the voter-roll purge, and is now seeking the DHS federal database as a part of that push. Shortly after Scott’s announcement, the DOJ responded with a letter to Detzner saying it was launching a suit of its own against the state.
- Justice Department Sues Florida Over Voter Purge | NYTimes.com…
- Gov. Scott: DOJ ‘stonewalling’ attempt to protect voting rights | The Hill
- Voter purge gets pushback from elections supervisors, U.S. Justice | Palm Beach Post
- DOJ eyes Florida voter roll purge of non-U.S. citizens | Politico.com…
- Voting rights groups ask Scott to stop non-citizen voter purge | Palm Beach Post
Wisconsin state GOP. Sen. Van Wanggaard asked elections officials Friday for a recount in his recall race, the outcome of which will decide the majority party in the state Senate. An official canvass this week showed the Racine Republican trailing his Democratic challenger by 834 votes, or 1.2 percent. Democrats had called on Wanggaard to concede, saying a recount would only delay their inevitable and waste taxpayer money. But Wanggaard’s campaign said it was concerned about possible reports of voting irregularities, and said it wanted to ensure the outcome was accurate.
Given how many votes were cast in the election and the margin separating the candidates, the recount will cost Wanggaard $5 for each of the 137 wards, or $685. Taxpayers will be on the hook for any remainder of the recount bill. The state Senate currently has 16 Democrats and 16 Republicans. The winner of Wanggaard’s race will give his party majority control.
If the recount reverses the outcome, the loss by Democrat John Lehman would be bitter end to the party’s already disappointing recall effort. Democrats came up empty in the other five recall races, including a failed attempt to recall Republican Gov. Scott Walker and his second-in-command, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch.
- Wisconsin Senate appears to swing to Democrats, pending recount | Fox 2 News
- Canvass affirms Lehman recall victory for Wisconsin Senate; Wanggaard yet to concede | JSOnline
- Senate power likely shifts to Democrats; Wanggaard ponders recount | La Crosse Tribune
- Walker, most other Republicans reportedly survive Wisconsin recall elections | The Brad Blog
- Recall exit poll: What happened? | The Washington Post
At their private conference, the justices of the Supreme Court are scheduled to decide Thursday whether and how to take a second look at the Citizens United campaign finance decision. The usual odds that the Supreme Court will agree to hear a case are about one in a hundred. This one is pretty much a sure thing. The justices have already temporarily blocked a lower court decision in the case. In that decision, the Montana Supreme Court seemed to defy the higher court by saying that a state law regulating corporate political spending was constitutional notwithstanding Citizens United. Two dissenting State Supreme Court justices said they would have liked to vote with their colleagues but did not believe they were entitled to ignore the United States Supreme Court. “I find myself in the distasteful position of having to defend the applicability of a controlling precedent with which I profoundly disagree,” wrote one of them, Justice James C. Nelson.
Even two of the dissenters in Citizens United itself said the state court’s decision had been lawless impudence. “Lower courts are bound to follow this court’s decisions until they are withdrawn or modified,” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote in February in explaining her vote to block the Montana decision. She was joined by Justice Stephen G. Breyer. In that same statement, Justice Ginsburg said the United States Supreme Court should now use the Montana case to weigh what the nation has learned since January 2010, when Citizens United overturned two precedents and allowed unlimited campaign spending by corporations and unions. The new case represented, she wrote, “an opportunity to consider whether, in light of the huge sums deployed to buy candidates’ allegiance, Citizens United should continue to hold sway.”
Justice John Paul Stevens, who also dissented in Citizens United and retired a few months later, added his voice to the debate in a speech in Arkansas on May 30. Without referring directly to the Montana case, he said the Supreme Court’s First Amendment jurisprudence had become incoherent since Citizens United and required revision. All of this means that the Supreme Court will almost certainly agree to review the Montana case. At the same time, there is little reason to think the five justices in the majority in Citizens United have changed their minds.
- “Corporate Personhood” Is Not the Problem | Garret Epps/American Prospect
- Supreme Court agrees to consider corporate free speech post-Citizen United | UPI.com…
- Citizens United sequel filed | SCOTUSblog
- Judge blocks more election rules | Independent Record
- The Money Crisis – How Citizens United Undermines Our Elections and the Supreme Court | Russ Feingold/Stanford Law Review
The Federal Election Commission on Monday night unanimously voted to allow Americans to make political donations via text message, making Androids, iPhones and Blackberries the newest weapon in the battle to raise unprecedented amounts of money. Both parties, as well as campaign finance reform advocates, say the move will allow Americans of modest means to play a greater role in a democratic process dominated this election cycle by billionaires and multi-millionaires and political organizations such as super PACs that may raise and spend money without restriction. The decision will take effect immediately, although it may be days or weeks before the system is fully functional. Individual phone numbers will be capped at $50 worth of donations per billing cycle per political candidate or committee.
Texting a political donation will be akin to what many charities already do in asking people to text a short message to a five-digit number in support of a cause. Upon doing so, a donor has a fixed amount of money — often $10, sometimes more — charged to his or her account. The process takes a matter of seconds in contract to comparatively clunkier methods, such as writing a paper check or using a credit card after filling out an online donation form. A presidential or congressional candidate, lording over a high-energy rally, might urge a throng of hundreds or thousands to pull out their phones and contribute that very moment. Instant cash. Likewise, political action committees could solicit text message-based donations through their broadcast and online advertisements, giving them easy streams of political cash.
From the outset, most of the six FEC commissioners — both those appointed by Republicans and Democrats — expressed support for the donations-by-text concept. But Democrat-appointed commissioners raised several concerns about the logistics surrounding donations by text, such as how to prevent scofflaws and foreign nationals from exceeding contribution limits or using multiple, disposable cell phones in order to make illegal donations.
- Campaign donations by text message: An FEC ruling on legality could come soon | The Washington Post
- Who Benefits From Text Message Donations? Everyone! | Slate
- Super PAC Mania | Columbia Law School Magazine
- Montana case gives campaign reformers best shot at undermining Citizens United | NationalJournal.com…
- Mr. Romney’s secret bundlers | The Washington Post