Connect with us

Politics

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley roots against gerrymander he helped engineer

Published

on

Reformers are hoping that by taking up both cases, each targeting a different party, the Supreme Court is preparing to, for the first time, set real restrictions on partisan gerrymandering.

For O’Malley, who ran for president in 2016, that would be well worth losing the map he helped draw and the one extra congressional seat Democrats gained from it.

“Our country and our democracy is not served well by partisan redistricting,” O’Malley said in a recent interview. “And if this is one of the ways we make progress for our republic, we’re glad to be a part of it.”

O’Malley was deposed by the plaintiffs in the Maryland case, who were stunned when he immediately copped to drawing the maps with partisan intent and told them he was rooting for their cause.

“I said, ‘Good luck, I hope you’re successful,'” O’Malley said of his deposition. “They scheduled me for four hours and I think we were done in, including the break, like 40 minutes.”

Currently, racial gerrymandering is prohibited, but it’s perfectly legal to draw legislative districts in a way that favors one party and punishes another.

That helps explain how states like Pennsylvania and North Carolina, which vote roughly 50-50 in presidential elections, end up with lopsided congressional delegations where Republicans outnumber Democrats almost 3 to 1.

Today, gerrymandering is virtually synonymous with Republican gerrymandering, but that’s mainly because the 2010 Tea Party wave election put the GOP in power just as states were engaging in their decennial redistricting process.

Democrats gerrymander, too, as Maryland shows, just not nearly to the extent Republicans have.

“I did everything in my power to draw a map that would be more favorable to the election of a Democratic congressional delegation,” O’Malley said. “In 2010, many of us in Maryland felt an obligation to push back against rank, extreme, Republican gerrymandering that was going on in many states across the United states.”

He compared it to the way Democrats use super PACs, even though the party ultimately wants to do away with them.

Of course, it’s relatively easy for O’Malley to speak out now, since he’s out office and doesn’t have to worry about protecting incumbents in the state capital.

In Annapolis, meanwhile, Democrats have defended their map and blocked attempts by Maryland’s current governor, Republican Larry Hogan, to advance the kinds of redistricting reforms that Democrats champion in other (often Republican-controlled) states.

“For three years, my administration has proposed reforms to create a nonpartisan system for drawing district lines. But legislators are content with the broken status quo, in which elected officials pick their constituents. Voters deserve better,” Hogan wrote in a recent op-ed in The Washington Post.

When the president of the Maryland Senate, a Democrat, gave his own deposition in the case, he plead ignorance.

“Did partisan factors play a role in the Maryland Senate consideration of the 2011 congressional map?” the lawyers asked.

The state Senate leader replied, “I don’t believe so.”

Source link

Politics

Keir Starmer's Labour Party plummets as Boris Johnson doubles lead in new poll

Published

on

THE TORIES have doubled their lead over Labour in the latest YouGov poll as Boris Johnson’s party continues to enjoy favourable ratings thanks to the huge success of the Covid vaccine rollout.

Source link

Continue Reading

Politics

Attorney General Garland rescinds Trump-era memo curtailing consent decrees

Published

on

WASHINGTON — Attorney General Merrick Garland on Friday rescinded a Trump-era memo that curtailed the use of consent decrees that federal prosecutors have used in sweeping investigations of police departments.

Garland issued a new memorandum to all U.S. attorneys and other Justice Department leaders spelling out the new policies on civil agreements and consent decrees with state and local governments.

The memo comes as the Justice Department shifts its priorities to focus more on civil rights issues, criminal justice overhauls and policing policies in the wake of nationwide protests over the death of Black Americans at the hands of law enforcement.

In easing restrictions placed on the use of consent decrees, the Justice Department is making it easier for its prosecutors to use the tool to force changes at police departments and other government agencies with widespread abuse and misconduct.

The memo in particular rescinds a previous memo issued by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions shortly before he resigned in November 2018.

Democrats have long argued the ability of the Justice Department’s civil rights division to conduct sweeping probes of police departments had been curtailed under President Donald Trump. The so-called pattern or practice investigations examine whether systemic deficiencies contribute to misconduct or enable it to persist.

“This memorandum makes clear that the Department will use all appropriate legal authorities to safeguard civil rights and protect the environment, consistent with longstanding Departmental practice and informed by the expertise of the Department’s career workforce,” Garland said.

The Justice Department didn’t totally ban pattern or practice investigations under Trump, but former Attorney General William Barr suggested they may have been previously overused.

As attorney general in the Obama administration, Eric Holder frequently criticized violent police confrontations and opened a series of civil rights investigations into local law enforcement practices. The civil rights investigations often ended with court-approved consent decrees that mandated reforms.

The consent decrees included those with the police in Ferguson, Missouri, after the killing of Michael Brown and in Baltimore following the police custody death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray.

Source link

Continue Reading

Politics

SNP outlines when Scotland would hold independence referendum after elections

Published

on

SNP John Swinney has outlined when his party would hold a Scottish independence referendum if they won a majority in the next election.

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending