Brett Kavanaugh Signals He’s Open to Stealing the Election for Trump
As the Senate was voting to elevate Amy Coney Barrett to a lifetime position on the Supreme Court on Monday night, the immediate stakes for the entire country were made suddenly clear by a critical election ruling from the court she now joins. On Monday night, Justice Brett Kavanaugh released a radical and brazenly partisan opinion that dashed any hopes he, as the Supreme Court’s new median justice, might slow-walk the court’s impending conservative revolution, while also threatening the integrity of next week’s election. In an 18-page lecture, the justice cast doubt on the legitimacy of many mail ballots and endorsed the most sinister component of Bush v. Gore. America’s new median justice is not a friend to democracy, and we may pay the price for Barrett’s confirmation in just eight days.
Monday’s order from the Supreme Court blocked a federal judge’s order that had tweaked Wisconsin’s voting laws in light of the pandemic. The judge directed election officials to count ballots that were postmarked by Election Day but received by Nov. 9, finding that the unprecedented demand for mail ballots combined with Postal Service delays could disenfranchise up to 100,000 voters. An appeals court blocked his decision on Oct. 8, and on Monday, SCOTUS kept it on hold by a 5–3 vote. The court offered no majority opinion, but Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Neil Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh all wrote concurrences. Justice Elena Kagan penned a trenchant dissent joined by Justices Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor.
Kavanaugh’s opinion is the most notable of the bunch because he is the new median justice and the opinion is frankly terrifying. In one passage, Kavanaugh attempted to defend the Wisconsin law disqualifying ballots received after Election Day. He pointed out that “most States” share this policy, explaining:
Those States want to avoid the chaos and suspicions of impropriety that can ensue if thousands of absentee ballots flow in after election day and potentially flip the results of an election. And those States also want to be able to definitively announce the results of the election on election night, or as soon as possible thereafter.
Kavanaugh then quoted New York University law professor Richard Pildes stating that the “longer after Election Day any significant changes in vote totals take place, the greater the risk that the losing side will cry that the election has been stolen.” (Kavanaugh was quoting an article in which Pildes encouraged states to extend their ballot deadlines, directly contradicting Kavanaugh’s argument.)
It is genuinely alarming that the justice cast these aspersions on late-arriving ballots. In at least 18 states and the District of Columbia, election officials do count ballots that arrive after Election Day. And, in these states, there is no result to “flip” because there is no result to overturn until all valid ballots are counted. Further, George W. Bush’s 2000 election legal team—which included Barrett, Kavanaugh, and Roberts—argued during that contested election that ballots arriving late and without postmarks, which were thought to benefit Bush, must be counted in Florida.
Finally, and most importantly, late-arriving ballots have handed the election to a candidate who was behind on election night on many occasions in the United States—most recently, in multiple California congressional races in 2018. Two years ago, California anticipated this possibility after extending the deadline for mail ballots, a move that signaled no chicanery. Yet Republicans seized upon it to delegitimize multiple Democratic victories. Even putative moderate Republican Young Kim raised the notion when she lost her lead after Election Day. Now the country’s highest court is ready to give any such challenges the ammunition they need heading into one of the most fraught election days this country has ever seen due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a would-be strongman in the White House.
President Donald Trump has taken the pastime of false voter fraud allegations to a dangerous new extreme, repeatedly rejecting the validity of mail ballots that arrive after Nov. 3. Indeed, roughly 15 minutes after Kavanaugh’s opinion came down, Trump tweeted: “Big problems and discrepancies with Mail In Ballots all over the USA. Must have final total on November 3rd.” Twitter concealed his tweet with a warning its content is “disputed and might be misleading about how to participate in an election.” But there is nothing Twitter, or anybody else, can do to warn Americans about Kavanaugh’s lies about “chaos and suspicions of impropriety” when states try to count every ballot next month.
And there was another, even more startling assertion in Kavanaugh’s concurrence. While referencing an earlier case, Kavanaugh dropped a bombshell in a footnote: He endorsed an argument that was too extreme for even the Bush v. Gore majority that decided the 2000 election, one that would give the Supreme Court the wholly new right to overrule state courts on their own election laws. In Bush v. Gore, three justices—William Rehnquist, joined by Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas—tried to overturn the Florida Supreme Court’s interpretation of the state’s own election law. As a rule, state Supreme Courts get final say over the meaning of their own state laws. But Rehnquist, Scalia, and Thomas argued that SCOTUS must review their decisions to ensure they comply with the “intent of the legislature.” In other words, the Supreme Court gets to be a Supreme Board of Elections that substitutes state courts’ interpretation of state law with its own subjective view of a legislature’s “intent.” Anthony Kennedy and Sandra Day O’Connor balked at this theory, refusing to sign onto it.
Yet Kavanaugh cited Rehnquist’s concurrence as if it were precedent. As Rehnquist “persuasively explained in Bush v. Gore,” Kavanaugh wrote, “the text of the Constitution requires federal courts to ensure that state courts do not rewrite state election laws.” It is surreal to read these words. Rehnquist’s concurrence garnered just three votes, so it is not precedent at all. Neither, for that matter, is the majority decision in Bush v. Gore, which warned future courts never to rely on it as precedent. To set a good example, SCOTUS itself has never cited any part of Bush v. Gore as precedent. Its opinions are ghosts that haunt modern constitutional law. Yet Kavanaugh just declared in a footnote that he not only agrees with Rehnquist but actually views his opinion as bona fide precedent.
Roberts distanced himself from Kavanaugh’s position on Monday, but Barrett’s confirmation renders his views largely irrelevant. We can probably expect Kavanaugh, along with Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, and now Barrett, to smack down state Supreme Courts that try to expand voting rights, or even just count every ballot.
Monday’s opinion was especially bizarre because the justice has previously gone out of his way to distance himself from the more strident conservatives. In cases involving LGBTQ rights and Dreamers, for instance, he has declined to sign onto Thomas’ and Alito’s partisan rants, presenting himself as a reasonable guy who tries really hard to do the right thing. The most generous explanation of Monday’s frightening opinion is that Kavanaugh started to defend his vote in these election cases and got carried away, digging a deeper hole for himself as he tried to respond to the unanswerable rejoinders in Kagan’s dissent.
The most pessimistic view is that Kavanaugh knows exactly what he’s doing: laying the groundwork to reject enough ballots to hand Trump an unearned second term while daring Democrats to do something about it, or to potentially decide critical congressional races at least. Perhaps Kavanaugh is planting his flag now, proclaiming that he won’t strike compromises for the sake of the court’s legitimacy; to the contrary, he’ll toss fuel on the fire, confident Democrats are too cowardly to retaliate.
Whatever the reasons behind Kavanaugh’s performance on Monday, he has given the nation another legitimate reason to fear that this election may end with a Bush v. Gore–like disaster for American democracy, but even worse than the original
Donald Trump owes real estate debts of $1.1bn with $900m due in next four years, report says
Donald Trump has debts worth $1.1 billion and will owe $900 million of it during his second term as president if he wins the election, according to a report.
The huge sums of money are linked to his commercial real estate properties and golf courses, says the Financial Times.
Over the next two years the president reportedly has a loan due of $285 for his Avenue of the Americas tower in New York, and $162 million due on his California Street building in San Francisco.
The size of Mr Trump’s debts is almost twice the amount he has suggested during his campaign for the White House, according to Forbes.
With his assets estimated at $3.66 billion that would put the president’s net wealth at around $2.5 billion, says Forbes.
Mr Trump also owes $340 million to his biggest bank lender, Deutsche Bank.
According to the New York Times, which released information about the president’s taxes last month, the National Doral in Miami and the International Hotel in Washington are both losing significant amounts of money.
The president also has $25 million in loans with four smaller banks and an asset manager.
The loans are mortgages on Trump family properties in a New York suburb and Palm Beach, Florida.
They are also loans on Trump golf courses in New Jersey and Washington DC, and a residential tower in New York City.
Mr Trump also has a $50 million debt secured against the Trump International Tower and Hotel in Chicago.
White House science office takes credit for 'ending' pandemic as infections mount
Covid-19 Live Updates: U.S. Reports a Record 500,000-plus Cases Over the Past WeekThree Western states joined California’s vaccine-review plan. Pfizer all but ruled out vaccine results before Election Day.
The United States has recorded a record of more than 500,000 new cases over the past week, as states and cities resort to stricter new measures to contain the virus that is again raging across the country, especially the American heartland.
The restrictions range from a nightly business curfew in Newark, N.J., to a two-week stay-at-home order in El Paso, Texas, to a halt in indoor dining in Chicago.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced on Tuesday that he was stopping indoor dining and bar service in Chicago, effective at 12:01 a.m. Friday, Oct. 30.
The city joins New York and Wisconsin, states that earlier this month issued restrictions or outright bans on indoor dining in restaurants and bars to limit the spread of the coronavirus. The restrictions have been loudly opposed by a restaurant industry that has been decimated by the pandemic.
Chicago is now averaging more than twice as many coronavirus-related hospital admissions per day as it was a month ago, Mr. Pritzker’s office said, and the share of tests that are coming back positive has almost doubled since the beginning of October.
The U.S. has reported a record daily average of about 71,000 new cases over the past week, an increase of about 40 percent from the average two weeks earlier. Eighteen states, including Illinois, have recorded their highest seven-day average of new cases, and three states (Tennessee, Wisconsin and Oklahoma) have set a record seven-day average for deaths. On Tuesday, Oklahoma and Wyoming broke single-day death records and Kentucky reported a new daily cases record.
Mr. Pritzker’s announcement follows a similar indoor dining ban that includes southern Cook County, just outside Chicago, which was announced Monday.
In Chicago, outdoor service will be allowed if tables are spaced six feet apart; reservations are required, and service shuts down at 11 p.m. All social gatherings in the city will be limited to 25 people or 25 percent of the venue’s capacity, whichever is less.
“We can’t ignore what is happening around us,” Mr. Pritzker said in a statement. “Because without action, this could look worse than anything we saw in the spring.”
Other communities around the country that have also recently tightened restrictions include:
- El Paso County, Texas, imposed a two-week stay-at-home order and a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew that took effect Sunday. The number of people hospitalized in the El Paso metropolitan area with Covid-19 has more than tripled over the past three weeks. Officials are scrambling to make space for them by setting up overflow beds in a convention center and under tents in parking lots and by flying patients out to medical centers outside the area.
- In Newark, N.J., all nonessential businesses will have to close at 8 p.m. beginning Tuesday. As of Sunday, the three-day average citywide positivity rate was 11.2 percent, more than double the statewide rate for the same period, the city said Monday.
- Gov. Brad Little of Idaho ordered the state on Monday to return to Level 3 restrictions including limiting indoor gatherings to 50 people, requiring masks at long-term care facilities, and restricting bars and restaurants to serving only customers who are seated at tables. Idaho is averaging around 900 cases each day, up from about 260 in mid-September.
- New mask mandates, the first in North Dakota, were imposed last week in the cities of Fargo and Minot. About 5 percent of all North Dakotans have now tested positive for the virus, the highest rate of any state.
- In Milwaukee, new rules take effect Thursday that limit the size of gatherings and restrict restaurants and bars to 25 percent of their capacity unless they receive a waiver from the state health department. A field hospital at the Wisconsin state fairgrounds west of Milwaukee has started accepting patients.
- The Blackfeet Indian Reservation, in Montana, extended its stay-at-home order on Friday to remain in effect through Nov. 8.
- The Oglala Sioux Tribe has locked down its Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota until Oct. 30 in response to new coronavirus cases, according to the Rapid City Journal.
- After an appeal from local hospitals, the mayors of two small Missouri cities, Nixa and Ozark, imposed their first mask mandates last week.
- In Louisiana, a statewide mask mandate and other coronavirus restrictions were up in the air on Tuesday, after Republican legislators used an obscure clause in state law to suspend the public health emergency declared by the governor. Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, had a quick response: He sued.
Kayleigh McEnany, gave us a heavy book that she described as the president’s health care plan. It was filled with executive orders and congressional initiatives, but no comprehensive healthcare plan.
Trump’s DOJ moved to squash probe into Turkish bank after lobbying from Erdogan
President Trump’s continued ownership of his business empire while in office has raised a flood of ethical and security concerns that stem from his unprecedented blend of personal profiteering and public service. His near constant travel to and promotion of his businesses, along with large payments from special interests and foreign governments, have created thousands of conflicts of interest and undercut his claim that he has not been involved with the Trump Organization since becoming president.
Now, add to that unethical stew a new discovery: President Trump reported being paid consulting fees by the Trump Organization during his second year in office.
The mere fact that a president might be engaged in for-profit consulting on the side is cause for concern. The presidency is arguably the most demanding job in the world and requires anyone who holds it to have a single-minded focus on what’s in the best interests of the American people, not their personal financial interests. Beyond that, however, the fees raise new questions specific to Trump about how involved he is with his businesses and — in light of the recent New York Times reports about his tax returns — to what extent the payments might demonstrate his continued attempts to use questionable means to lower the Trump Organization’s tax burden.
Last year, Trump disclosed $61,045 in “consulting fees” that are apparently related to Trump Organization projects that never materialized in his financial disclosure report covering 2018. The payments are unusual because they are the only one of their kind that Trump has reported since becoming president. And unlike his more passive forms of profit from his businesses, the use of the term “consulting” seems to imply actual services rendered by the president.
Even if Trump did not provide consulting services in exchange for the fees, the question remains as to why the income was designated as consulting fees. It is impossible to draw a conclusion about that based on the financial disclosure alone, but the answer could lie in last month’s bombshell New York Times report which described the Trump Organization’s practice of writing off consulting fees as business expenses in order to reduce the Trump Organization’s tax burden.
I was asked to lie about Hunter Biden, admits Ukrainian businessman
Ex-FBI agent sees something sketchy going on with promotion of Nunes staffers in final days of Trump administration
Lindsey Graham gets accused of holding McCabe hearing to appease Trump’s grievances
Ex-deputy FBI chief McCabe: Officials had reason to think Trump posed 'danger to national security'
I can't wait to see him escorted out of the White House., but the staff better lock up the silver and anything else of value.Not fucking cool.
TLDR, Whiny Baby in Chief firing people who disagree with him and hiring yes men. Problem I see is when January rolls around, what are the odds law enforcement will remove Trump? The way it's looking, we may have to resort to that.
Don't fucking tell me it will go easy, it won't and we're seeing things start to turn worse.