June, 2014

Senate Republicans Copy Democratic Fundraising Emails

“The campaign arm of the Senate Republicans has sent a series of fund-raising emails that appear to have language lifted from messages sent by the campaign arm of the House Democrats,” Business Insider reports.

“In at least three emails to supporters in the last week, the National Republican Senatorial Committee closely mirrored the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, borrowing phrases, framing, and even the font color on key words.”

Michigan GOP Won’t Oppose Felon Running for State House

Michigan Republicans will not oppose or support Jordan Haskins’ (R) bid for a Michigan House of Representatives seat despite his extensive record as a felon, the Saginaw News reports.

“Haskins admitted to police that he scaled fences and trespassed on both public and private property in order to take vehicles for joyrides and to facilitate a fetish he referred to as ‘cranking.’ Police reports state he disconnected the spark plugs on a vehicle and then masturbated while attempting to turn over the engine.”

Boehner Tells Obama No Vote on Immigration Reform

“The White House is throwing in the towel on a comprehensive immigration bill this year after Speaker John Boehner told President Obama last week that he will not allow a vote in the House,” Roll Call reports.

“Obama will make a statement this afternoon in the Rose Garden and will announce plans to ‘fix as much of our broken immigration system as he can through executive action,’ according to a White House official.”

Elections Matter

Ezra Klein points out that today’s Supreme Court “is the direct result of George W. Bush’s contested election. If Al Gore had won the presidency in 2000 and reelection in 2004, then William Rehnquist and Sandra Day O’Connor would likely have been replaced by Democrats, and Supreme Court jurisprudence in the years since would be very different.”

The Court Suddenly Finds Congress Is Wise

Rick Hasen notes that near the end of Justice Samuel Alito’s majority opinion in the Hobby Lobby case today, he writes that it is not the Court’s job to question the “wisdom” of Congress.

“The Court has shown no such deference when it comes to the need for campaign finance regulation or to protect the voting rights of racial minorities and others. The Roberts Court has overturned or limited every campaign finance law it has examined (aside from disclosure laws). It has struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act. How much deference did Congress get in those cases? None.”

“Well when is Congress wise and entitled to deference? When the Court agrees with Congress’s approach.”

Court Says Some Employers Don’t Have to Cover Birth Control

The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 split, ruled that “closely held” companies can on religious grounds opt out of a federal health-care law requirement that companies provide contraception coverage for employees, the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The court’s five conservatives wrote that private companies, such as Hobby Lobby Stores, can’t be forced to provide contraceptive health services that violate their owner’s religious beliefs. The case was the first challenge to the Affordable Care Act to reach the Supreme Court since 2012, when the justices upheld most of the health-care overhaul against a constitutional challenge.”

National Journal: “How deeply the court’s decision undermines the contraception mandate will depend largely on how business owners respond… The furthest-reaching implications could come further down the road; the Obama administration and its allies have warned that companies will rely on the ruling to seek exemptions from anti-discrimination laws.”

Wonk Wire: More Obamacare lawsuits poised to follow

Public Sector Union Can’t Make Nonmembers Pay

The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that Illinois home-based care workers can’t be forced to pay dues to a union they don’t want to join, the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The court, in an opinion by Justice Samuel Alito, said the aides, who provide care to the disabled, weren’t full-fledged public employees even though they are paid for their work by the state. Because of that status, the workers couldn’t be required to pay fees to a public-sector union.”

“The high court avoided the broadest possible ruling in the case. It declined a request by the challengers to overrule past Supreme Court precedent that allowed public-sector unions to collect fees from non-members.”

Christie Probe Presses On

“The leaders of a legislative panel investigating the George Washington Bridge lane closures want to call 13 more people to provide sworn testimony, including members of Governor Christie’s office and top officials at the Port Authority,” according to a document obtained by the Bergen Record.

“The list signals Democratic lawmakers’ intention to carry on with the inquiry — which has faced Republican resistance — well into the summer and possibly beyond.”

Jindal Courts Christian Conservatives With Eye on 2016

McKay Coppins says that Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), “the most underrated prospect in the 2016 presidential field is plotting the charm offensive that could carry him to the White House. His target: the Religious Right.”

“While much of the Republican Party has written off the conservative Christian movement as a shrinking niche to be appeased but not feared, Jindal is working deliberately to consolidate their support and position himself as the election-year champion of values voters — building relationships with Evangelical power-brokers, surrounding himself with veterans of Rick Perry’s 2012 campaign, and lacing his rhetoric with culture-war calls for religious freedom.”

Kissing Congressman to Announce Plans

Rep. Vance Mcallister (R-LA) has scheduled a “special press conference” Monday in which he is expected to reveal whether he’ll run for re-election this fall, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports.

“After surveillance video from last December was leaked in April showing him kissing a married staffer, McAllister announced he would serve out the remainder of his term but not seek re-election. Later, McAllister said he reserved the right to change his mind.”

Update: Roll Call reports McAllister will run for re-election.