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Supreme Court 2016-17: Forthcoming Opinion Watch

Like much in government (including the school-year that many of us remember from growing up), the Supreme Court follows a cyclical calendar.  Beginning with the first Monday in October, the Supreme Court has seven argument sessions each year.  Each session is two weeks followed by a recess.  Five of these recesses are for two weeks, but the recesses taken over Christmas and after the January arguments are usually for four weeks.  During these approximately thirty weeks, the Supreme Court is engaged in three basic tasks:  1) reviewing applications from parties that want their cases heard by the Supreme Court; 2) preparing for and holding arguments in those cases that have been accepted; and 3) writing opinions.  Because the task of preparing for arguments (reading the written arguments of counsel and reviewing the record from the trial court to get an idea of the “facts” underlying to which the law has to be applied) is time consuming, opinions tend to slowly dribble out during these first thirty weeks.  As a result, when the arguments end in late April (or early May depending upon the calendar), there are typically a significant number of cases still waiting for opinions.

During this year’s term, as is not unusual, there were a handful of opinions issued in December and January (a total of six) with the number going up slightly during February, March, and April (a total of twenty-one so far with the possibility of several more on Monday before the Supreme Court leaves for its final recess.  However, with arguments for the year having wrapped up this past Wednesday, there are currently thirty-eight cases in which opinions have not yet been issued.  While there are some exceptions to the rule, by this time of year, the Supreme Court has issued opinions in most of the cases heard last Fall.  During the argument portion of the year, it takes between two and six months to get an opinion.  The simple cases in which there is unanimous agreement among the Justices (which represent about half of the cases) tend to come quickly.  When the Justices disagree, the process stretches out as the Justices in the minority draft opinions responding to the majority opinion, and the majority opinion then makes changes to address the issues raised by the minority (and so on until everyone believes that no further changes are needed).    The bottom line is that, at this point of the year, opinions have been issued for all of the October arguments, for about two-thirds of the November and December arguments, for about half of the January and February arguments, and for none of the March and April arguments.  The expectation, especially for the remaining cases from November and December, is that the delay represents some significant disagreement in the early cases.

Before going into the highlights of what is left to come down — either on Monday or more likely between mid-May and the end of June when the Supreme Court returns from its last recess — one point to make.  Justice Gorsuch only participated in the arguments for this last two-week session.  The tradition is that a Justice does not vote in cases heard before the Justice joined the Supreme Court.  However, it is not unusual to schedule a case for re-argument if the a Justice joins the Court after argument and the vote of the eight Justices who heard the case is split 4-4.

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List of Inauguration Marches and Protests #RESIST

We’re not going to follow the inauguration like we have the past two years. Why celebrate the end of our Nation as we know it?

Instead we will give you info on marches and protests that will take place. Please let us know if you would like us to add an event by emailing us.

January 20, 2016

All Day – DisruptJ20 – Washington, DC

7:00AM – #InaugurateTheResistance – Washington DC

10:00AM – Bridge Together Golden Gate

10:00AM – Unpresidented Inauguration Show with   and

11:00AM – United Against Hate – Los Angeles

Noon – Inauguration Protest at Trump Tower Chicago

12:30PM – Love-A-Thon on Facebook Live

3:30PM – Rise Up & Resist Facism – Portland, OR

Various – Resist Trump – Occupy Inauguration

January 21, 2016

10:00AM – Women’s March on Washington – As of now, there are 281 worldwide marches scheduled. You can find them all here.

 

 

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President Obama presents Vice President Biden with the Medal of Freedom

As we enter the final days of the Obama Administration, this is a perfect bookend to show how truly great both of these men are.

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The View from Ground Zero

Vote by JessHello from Chester County, Pennsylvania. We’ve been in the news a lot lately. Back in 2008, while working a full time job and putting in a good 30 hours a week on the Obama campaign, I understood our importance…and I said, often and with much conviction, “To win the presidency, McCain needs to win Pennsylvania. To do so, he needs to win the collar counties, especially Chester County. To win Chester County, he needs to win Tredyffrin, and he can’t do that without W-5. To do that, he needs to get past ME, and the little blonde girl says no. NO. HELL NO.”

In eight years, the demographics of the county have changed. The country has changed. But until last night, I didn’t realize how much **I** had changed. I’ve been canvassing for over 50 years, since I was a little kid. I’ve been working elections my whole life. Carried a lit basket for my uncle the candidate at the age of 3. I’ve talked, I’ve persuaded. I’ve won and I’ve failed. And I was never viscerally angry. Until yesterday.

The man in question embodied all that I look down on: someone who believes rumours but not facts. The folks who, when presented with historical proof, deny that those things happened. And I’m talking BIG THINGS, like a top tax rate of 90% under Eisenhower. Like the idea that people in the United States (not all, but some) knew about the camps in Germany in the ’30’s and tried to get America involved earlier. Like the fact that innocent black men are killed by police. You get the idea. So. Last night this guy is explaining that Hillary is a crook. And I asked what crime she was guilty of…and he couldn’t name one. I talked about Trump’s demagoguery, and ginning up the crowds, and he hadn’t seen it. His issues are income inequality and the need to undertake more domestic manufacturing, and he explained that Bernie Sanders was never for those things.

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Sunday with the Senators: Saturday Edition

Vote by JessWe’re 17 days out from the election, and while the main event seems like a foregone conclusion, the Senate is pretty much a nail-biter. Matt will have the Senate race rankings up tonight and we’ll see the specifics, but first, a little context, and a race that no one is looking at, which may actually delay knowing who controls the Senate until 10 December.

Let’s play. We need a net of 4 seats to take back the Senate, assuming that Secretary Clinton wins the general, and thus Tim Kaine would be the tie-breaker. Based on current projections, we’ll pick up Indiana, Wisconsin and Illinois. Will we hold Nevada? Maybe. If we do we need one more, if not, we need two. The likeliest options should be Pennsylvania and New Hampshire. Should be. Could be. The data indicate that if Secretary Clinton wins by 7 points in Pennsylvania and 6 points in New Hampshire, her coattails will be enough. I have been following New Hampshire from a distance and it appears very close. Ayotte is constantly tied to Trump in ads. For some reason, a lot of politicians don’t seem to get that everyone has a phone, and thus video capabilities, and when you call Donald Trump “a role model” that’s going to make the ads even if you disavow some of his actions. A lot will depend on how much money is poured into the ads in the next couple weeks. The polls have been tied, and just yesterday WMUR said that Hassan is 8 points ahead: is it an outlier or has the die been cast?

Pennsylvania is so tight there’s no daylight in the polls. Brooklyn knows this and that’s why both Clinton and Kaine will be in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia today. Should be noted that Secretary Clinton, Chelsea Clinton, Senator Kaine, President and Mrs. Obama, Vice President Biden and even Bubba the Big Dog have all been here. Upcoming in the next two weeks, Anne Holton (Senator Kaine’s wife), Jill Biden, Jon Bon Jovi and Katy Perry.  It seems as though the street closure information is an almost daily occurrence on the traffic reports.

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DCW 2016 Presidential Forecast

Welcome to the latest edition of the Democratic Convention Watch 2016 Presidential Forecast, showing Clinton up 313-225, up from our last forecast showing Clinton up 307-231.

The forecast is based on a average of pundit and poll based forecasts. The right hand column shows a running total of Electoral Votes. Find the state that crosses 270, and that’s the tipping point state, which has been Wisconsin since August.

One thing we’re watching is the number of Tossups at the tipping point or higher. Last time there were 4 Tossups, 1 (out of 8 forecasts) each for CO, PA, NH and WI. This week we’re down to 2: CO and WI. But as long as those Tossups in the Blue Wall are out there, that means there are forecasters who are saying if Trump wins all the Tossups, he has a path to win.

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DCW 2016 Presidential Forecast

Welcome to the latest edition of the Democratic Convention Watch 2016 Presidential Forecast, showing Clinton up 307-231. Our last forecast on Aug 21 showed Clinton up 313-225.

The forecast is based on a average of pundit and poll based forecasts. The right hand column shows a running total of Electoral Votes. Find the state that crosses 270, and that’s the tipping point state. It was Wisconsin in August, and it is still Wisconsin. Clinton’s blue firewall continues to hold (although it is not as strong as we would like) – but if she holds VA, CO NH, PA and WI, she can lose IA, OH, NV, NC and FL and still win.

While we haven’t published the forecast since August, the following graph shows the forecast since June, clearly showing Clinton’s post-convention bump, the September tightening, and Clinton’s recent gains.

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Weekly White House Address

Joe BidenBecause it’s not just politics, it’s GOVERNANCE.

Federal Judge Timothy LewisIn this week’s address, retired Federal Judge Timothy Lewis joined Vice President Joe Biden to discuss the nomination of Chief Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court of the United States. The Vice President talked about his experience as the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, during which every nominee got a hearing and an up or down vote on the Senate floor. Despite having more federal judicial experience than any other Supreme Court nominee in history, Chief Judge Garland’s nomination has now been pending longer than any other Supreme Court nominee who wasn’t withdrawn from consideration. Judge Lewis emphasized that this lack of action is preventing the Supreme Court from fulfilling its duty of interpreting the law and resolving conflicts in the lower courts. The Vice President made clear that for the sake of our Nation, everyone must do their job. That’s why the President did his job by nominating Chief Judge Merrick Garland. Now, it’s time for the Senate Republicans to do their job. Full transcript after the jump. 

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Democratic National Convention Announces State-of-the-Art Studio 2016 And DNC Live Pre-Show

PHILADELPHIA – The Democratic National Convention Committee (DNCC) announced today the opening of Studio 2016, the cornerstone of an ambitious effort leveraging technology to make this the most innovative and engaging convention in history. Studio 2016 is a state-of-the-art production studio housed in the heart of the Wells Fargo Center at the nexus of convention activities. The studio will be used to broadcast satellite and radio interviews across the country with top newsmakers and, in a first for any national convention, will also house DNC Live, a nightly live pre-show program with exclusive content aimed at millennial voters.

DNC Live, hosted by celebrities and personalities, will live stream engaging programming at the intersection of culture and politics, featuring celebrities and influencers designed to capture young viewers and keep them tuned into the convention each night. DNC Live will stream on the convention’s suite of almost a dozen platforms including YouTube, AppleTV, Roku, Amazon Fire, DirecTV, Comcast Xfinity, Xbox, the DNCC app and Twitch.tv.

“Studio 2016 and its DNC Live program will help viewers around the country connect with the convention and our message in a way that’s never been done before,” said Liz Hart, Director of Studio 2016. “By offering exclusive content featuring fresh and exciting voices, we can engage new audiences in what’s happening both on stage and behind the scenes.”

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Democrats to bind DNC superdelegates starting in 2020

Starting in 2020, it will be a lot easier to track superdelegates endorsements – there will be a lot less of them that matter:

After a lengthy debate and a deal between supporters of Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Democratic Party’s rules committee voted to created a “unity commission” that would dramatically limit the role of convention “superdelegates,” binding roughly two-thirds of them to the results of state primaries and caucuses.

“The Commission shall make specific recommendations providing that Members of Congress, Governors, and distinguished party leaders remain unpledged and free to support their nominee of choice,” reads the new rules language, “but that remaining unpledged delegates be required to cast their vote at the Convention for candidates in proportion to the vote received for each candidate in their state.”

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