Connect with us


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



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


Political leaders sound off about charges against one of three officers involved in Breonna Taylor case



Notable reactions from across the political spectrum poured in after Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said charges will be filed against one of three officers involved in the death of Breonna Taylor, an emergency medical technician whom police shot during a raid this year.

Former detective Brett Hankison was indicted on three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment. Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove were not indicted. Cosgrove fired the shot that killed Taylor, Cameron said, but the grand jury considered his shooting justifiable.

Several Democratic leaders quickly expressed disappointment that only one of the officers was charged.

Sen. Kamala Harris of California, the Democratic vice presidential nominee, said, “I haven’t read it fully yet, but there’s no question that Breonna Taylor and her family deserve justice yesterday, today and tomorrow.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., a former Democratic presidential candidate, tweeted: “Breonna Taylor’s life mattered. This result is a disgrace and an abdication of justice. Our criminal justice system is racist. The time for fundamental change is now.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who has stayed relatively quiet about Taylor’s death, expressed sorrow but said he trusted in the decision.

“Breonna Taylor’s life was tragically cut short. Our city and the country continue to grieve her loss. Elaine and I pray for healing for Breonna’s mother and her family throughout this process. I have called for a fair and thorough investigation into Breonna’s killing,” he said. (McConnell’s wife, Elaine Chao, is the secretary of transportation.)

“Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron led a complete inquiry to find the truth and pursue justice. I have total confidence he followed the facts and the legal process and his decision,” McConnell said.

Kentucky’s other senator, Rand Paul, a Republican, echoed the sentiment. “I think that the rule of law is an important thing, and I hope that people will accept that,” he said.

When asked about the decision Wednesday, President Donald Trump answered, “I don’t know enough about it.”

He had called Taylor’s death, as well as the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, a “tragic event” during a town hall gathering with ABC News this month.

“Well, I think they were tragic events, and I do feel that we have to also take into consideration that if you look at our police, they do a phenomenal job,” he said at the time.

Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., tweeted: “It shouldn’t have taken this long to bring charges against the officer responsible for the murder of #BreonnaTaylor, but this indictment is still a long way from justice. All officers involved must be held fully accountable for her death.”

Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., said in a tweet, “Black lives will not matter until we hold police accountable for Black deaths, invest more in our communities than in criminalization, and dismantle the structures of racial oppression in our country and ensure all people are truly equal in the eyes of the law.”

He added: “Police murdered Breonna Taylor while she was asleep in her own home. Today, our justice system decided that these officers will not be held accountable. This is a grave and shameful injustice.”

Shortly after the indictment, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear called on Cameron to release all “information, evidence, and facts” without affecting the three felony counts. “I believe that the public deserves this information,” he said. “I trust Kentuckians. They deserve to see the facts.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., told reporters: “It’s just weighing really heavy on my heart, and because we know that her death is not just the result of one person but the system, structure and department that failed their entire community. And you know, we know this fight to prevent deaths like hers is going to be so much broader in terms of the systemic change, the political change.”

Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., who has made many calls for justice in Taylor’s death, also vowed to keep fighting.

“Once again, the law says that property is more valuable than Black life. We cannot let up in our fight for justice for Breonna Taylor and every Black and brown person murdered at the hands of police. We will fight to end qualified immunity,” Omar tweeted.

Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., posted: “Did I hear that correctly? Only one officer is being held remotely accountable, and it’s not for killing Breonna Taylor but instead for shooting apartments? It’s never been clearer this country considers property more valuable than human life.”

Taylor’s death sparked widespread outrage and protests, with thousands of people demanding justice and accountability from the Louisville Metro Police Department.

Taylor, 26, was killed shortly after midnight on March 13 when officers raided her apartment under a “no knock” warrant as part of a drug investigation involving Taylor’s ex-boyfriend Jamarcus Glover, a convicted drug dealer.

Glover listed Taylor’s apartment as his address and used it to receive packages, authorities said. Taylor had no criminal record, and no drugs or money were recovered during the raid, according to the search warrant inventory document obtained by NBC News.

Officers said they were fired upon as they entered the home. Taylor’s family has said that Walker believed the home was being broken into and that he fired his legally owned gun to defend himself.

The city reached a $12 million settlement last week in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Taylor’s family. The settlement does not require the city to admit any wrongdoing

“It is just an acknowledgment of the need for reform and the need for a settlement to take place,” Mayor Greg Fischer said in announcing the terms of the settlement.

Fischer signed an executive order Tuesday that placed the city under a state of emergency as Louisville braced for the grand jury’s decision.

Source link

Continue Reading


Missouri Gov. Mike Parson and wife test positive for coronavirus



Missouri Gov. Mike Parson and his wife, Teresa Parson, both tested positive for coronavirus and have cancelled events as they isolate, his office said Wednesday.

The couple were tested earlier in the day after Teresa Parson began to exhibit mild symptoms, though the governor “feels healthy and is displaying no symptoms,” according to a statement. Mike Parson, who is seeking re-election this fall, has cancelled his forthcoming campaign events.

“All official and campaign events have been canceled until further notice,” the governor’s statement said. “As a precautionary measure, the Governor’s staff has been tested and is awaiting results.”

Both Parsons posted videos to their official Twitter accounts Wednesday to offer details on their conditions. Teresa Parson said she was fine and assured residents that she was isolating.

“I did get up with a few cold-like symptoms and decided maybe because we are among the public so much, I should be tested,” she said.

Mike Parsons told Missouri residents in his Twitter update that it had been “quite a day,” but that the couple was doing well. The governor said his preliminary results came back positive and they were beginning the process of quarantining as he awaits confirmation.

He added that he and his wife may have to isolate separately but that he plans on continuing with his duties.

“My concern is the first lady, her health, to make sure that she is OK,” the governor said.

Missouri has faced scrutiny in recent days as the state’s Lake of the Ozarks region hosted a large motorcycle rally last weekend, despite social distancing concerns. A similar rally that drew hundreds of thousands of bikers in South Dakota has been linked to more than 200 coronavirus cases and at least one death.

The 14th annual Bikefest Lake of the Ozarks started Wednesday, Sept. 16 and ran through Sunday, Sept. 20. Previous rallies drew over 100,000 to the area, NBC affiliate KSDK reported.

The event featured vending areas, more than 50 live shows, over 300 “biker-friendly” bars, restaurants and hotels, and a Harley Davidson giveaway, according to its website. Videos posted online of the event showed few masks were worn by attendees.

Another Missouri event that seemed to flout coronavirus guidelines was a crowded Memorial Day party, also at Lake of the Ozarks, where a viral video showed little social distancing. Health officials urged attendees to self-isolate following the event to prevent community spread of the coronavirus during the pandemic.

Missouri has 116,946 confirmed coronavirus and 1,947 deaths as of Wednesday afternoon, based on the state’s health dashboard. The governor has not imposed a statewide mandate that would require residents to wear masks in public, despite recommendations from the White House’s coronavirus task force.

Source link

Continue Reading


Brexit LIVE: Barnier angrily rejects transition extension – even if free trade deal agreed



MICHEL BARNIER has rejected any possibility of the UK extending the transition period past the end of the year.

Source link

Continue Reading