GOP gerrymandering may grow even more extreme in the coming decade thanks to the Supreme Court

first_imgRepublicans have argued in several ongoing cases over uncounted absentee ballots that this clause only empowers the state legislature itself. That claim would exclude all those who hold the power to set or interpret laws under state constitutions, such as state courts, voters (via the ballot initiative process), or potentially even governors when they exercise their veto powers.The Supreme Court rejected this radical interpretation of the Elections Clause in a 5-4 ruling in 2015 that upheld the right of Arizona voters to strip their Republican-run legislature of the power to draw new maps through a 2000 ballot initiative that established an independent redistricting commission. However, two of the justices in the majority in that ruling, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Anthony Kennedy, are no longer on the court and have since been replaced by justices much further to the right.Chief Justice John Roberts wrote an angry dissent in the Arizona case and was joined by Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas, all of whom of course still serve on the court. Neil Gorsuch, meanwhile, has signaled that he would accept this unfounded legal theory in a pending case over late-counted mail ballots in Pennsylvania, and Brett Kavanaugh appears likely to join his nihilistic colleagues. Amy Coney Barrett hasn’t weighed in on the issue only because she didn’t have time to do so before Election Day.- Advertisement – If the Supreme Court does hold that only literal state legislatures may set federal election laws absent congressional intervention, independent redistricting commissions enacted by initiatives placed on the ballot by ordinary citizens could get struck down in Arizona, California, and Michigan. It would also eliminate the possibility of setting up independent commissions through future initiatives in states like Arkansas, Florida, Oklahoma, and more.The court could even go further and strip governors of their ability to veto new redistricting plans, if indeed only “legislatures”—free from gubernatorial involvement—can determine how elections are run. Such a move would disproportionately benefit Republicans, since it would bar many more Democratic governors in states with Republican-run legislatures (such as Louisiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin) from blocking new gerrymanders than vice versa.Should this most extreme state of affairs come to pass, the only solution for Democrats would be to win control of more legislatures, but they’d be fighting on gerrymandered maps deliberately tilted against them.- Advertisement – – Advertisement – The Supreme Court isn’t the only threat, though, and it remains unclear just how much damage Donald Trump has done to corrupt the accuracy of the 2020 census. Let’s delve into each of these areas, including the options Democrats have left for fighting back.The court’s most wide-reaching impact could come if it upends a bedrock of two centuries of federalism by accepting an extreme and unprecedented view of the U.S. Constitution’s “Elections Clause.” That clause, found in Article I, Section IV, gives the “legislature” in each state the power to set the “times, places, and manner of holding” federal elections—though it adds that Congress “may at any time make or alter such regulations”—which is why, for instance, there’s a federal law from the 19th century setting a uniform date for congressional elections.- Advertisement – The second grim scenario, which is the likeliest to transpire, would largely impact gerrymandering in states Republicans already control. Specifically, the Supreme Court could eviscerate the rest of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) by invalidating Section Two of the VRA’s ban on laws that have a discriminatory effect on voters. Chief Justice John Roberts has in fact spent his four-decade career in Washington trying to do just that, and he now has five allies on the bench—and only four are needed.The court may gut Section Two either by finding it unconstitutional or by making its test for showing discriminatory impacts impossible to satisfy, the latter of which it could do in an Arizona voting case  it will hear next year. That would eliminate the requirement stretching back three decades that maps be drawn to create districts where voters belonging to racial and ethnic minorities, like Blacks and Latinos, can elect their chosen candidates. Republicans could gain perhaps as many as a dozen more congressional seats, concentrated largely in the South, and the impact on certain state legislatures would be even more dramatic.Lastly, the Supreme Court could make GOP gerrymandering worse by allowing Republicans to draw districts based solely on the eligible voter population instead of the total overall population, which has been the longstanding norm. Not only is the eligible voter pool whiter, it also excludes children, noncitizens, and potentially even some of the 5 million Americans disenfranchised due to felony convictions.Using the voter population would make Republican gerrymandering more potent in several key states such as Texas, where communities with large Latino populations that lean Democratic are typically much younger and have many more noncitizen immigrants than whiter communities with fewer children.Furthermore, people disenfranchised due to felony convictions are disproportionately Black and concentrated in Southern states such as Mississippi, which bans one in six Black citizens from voting for life, three times the rate of whites. A 2019 expose of leaked documents confirmed that Republicans have been plotting to bring this change about, and the Supreme Court did not eliminate the possibility in a 2016 ruling.However, one key wrinkle in this plan is that the Supreme Court refused to let Trump place a citizenship question on the census last year. Trump subsequently ordered the Census Bureau to use existing administrative records to match citizenship data from other sources with the granular type of census data needed for redistricting. However, Joe Biden could block the release of such data, and litigation over it appears likely.But even if citizenship data is unobtainable for redistricting, age data won’t be, and the full adult population is still whiter than the total population, especially in places like Texas. However, Trump has also tried to sabotage the accuracy of the census by rushing an incomplete count, the damage from which is yet unknown.Despite all this, Democrats and reformers still have a number of ways to fight back. The most important target right now is to win two Jan. 5 runoffs for the Senate in Georgia, which would split the chamber at 50 seats apiece. If, as looks likely, Joe Biden wins the presidency, Kamala Harris could break ties as vice president.Should that come to pass, Democrats could eliminate the filibuster and pass legislation in Congress to ban congressional gerrymandering by mandating independent commissions in every state. They could also reform the Supreme Court in a variety of different ways, including by adding more seats.Options also remain at the state level for as long as the Supreme Court’s hardliners back away from the ledge and don’t blow up the foundation of federalism. In a silver lining, voters in Arkansas, Florida, and North Dakota all rejected GOP-backed ballot measures this year that would have made future progressive ballot measures much harder, if not impossible. Arkansas and North Dakota, meanwhile, were poised to vote on redistricting reform measures in 2020 before GOP-dominated courts threw them off the ballot, so future efforts this decade could yet succeed.But this year’s elections have already brought dire news even if worst-case scenarios don’t come to pass. After a lost decade following 2010 in which Republicans repeatedly won control of key states such as Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin despite Democrats winning more votes, Republican minority rule is becoming self-entrenching in many states. 2020 was a key opportunity to level the redistricting playing field in many states and protect majority rule, but Republican wins have ended those hopes.Yet even if the Supreme Court does take this country down the darkest possible paths, all hope is not lost. Examples abound of countries bringing democracy back from the brink, including a recent one nearby.Last year, millions of citizens in Chile organized massive street protests amid widespread discontent triggered in part by a Supreme Court that kept thwarting the country’s left-of-center governments. These protests led to a peaceful revolution that culminated last month with Chileans voting to write a new constitution.Americans still have other avenues for redress, but whatever conclusions we draw from them, this week’s election showed that our country remains home to a majority that believes in democracy and wants to see the will of the people honored.last_img read more

Dubrovnik & Konavle Walking Festival is a great tourist story and a platform for how our tourist product should look like

first_imgI constantly emphasize that the motive for coming is not accommodation, but quality, diverse and authentic content of the tourist destination.Exactly in Dubrovnik and Konavle from 2 to 9 October 2017 will be held a new quality and interesting tourist content and story – Dubrovnik & Konavle Walking FestivalThe Dubrovnik Hiking Festival is primarily intended to show a different face of Dubrovnik, away from the crowds, focused on local tastes and trails, with a sense of freedom, tranquility and belonging to nature. Fertile Konavle fields, picturesque villages, hiking trails, the old railway, vineyards, wineries and local households await tourists in a unique program designed for everyone – from absolute beginners to advanced mountaineers.”We want to show the secret places that are mostly known among the locals in a sustainable form of active program to discover the unique food and wine of the region. With the festival we try to prove that this period, from August to July and August, is the best time to visit Dubrovnik. At the end of this festival, we guarantee that we will all come to the same conclusion – Dubrovnik is much more than stone walls and a popular summer destination.”Points out Zoran Ateljevic, one of the organizers.This image and experience is rememberedRural households, authentic gastronomy, culture, tradition, heritage… are part of this unique tourist story, all with the main focus on authenticity. Everything that is not written in tourist brochures, and the locals know, and that is exactly the story we have to tell – our authentic story combined with a superb, ie unforgettable experience. We remember the experiences from our travels, and as the motive of the trip is to get to know and experience a new and authentic way and culture of living, it must be an imperative of our tourism. That is the essence of tourism.Let us respect ourselves, our tradition, heritage, culture, identity so that others can respect us, and let us be what we are – Croats. All of our amazing authentic stories and diversity I have to pack nicely into a rounded tourist product and tell the story. This is the whole philosophy and paradigm of tourism. Yes, it’s that simple.Also, we should praise the excellent quality video, which is certainly a lure and a real motive for coming, in addition to excellent shots, it presents what we are – our story. This is the best possible pattern of how to organize all other festivals, events and tours, because tourists want to experience, see, taste… – our authentic story. Then why would they travel hundreds of miles if we sell them what they have at home?Content, content and only quality and primarily authentic content is the essence of tourism. These are the real ambassadors of our tourism and such tourist stories should be promoted and co-financed because this is the best platform on how to be our main tourist product, and not mass tourism, form and be copies of others.So simple, yet ingenious. Tourism is emotions, experiences and stories. Let’s tell stories, our authentic stories.More details about Dubrovnik & Konavle Walking Festival and how to apply can be found herelast_img read more

Sewe Sport Progress in Champions League

first_imgBarrack Young Controllers yesterday lost 1-0 to Ivory Coast’s Sewe Sport in Abidjan to end their CAF Championship League campaign.Sewe progressed on 4-3 aggregate after earlier drawing 3-3 in Monrovia last weekend and now advance to the second round of the League.Roger Assale’s first half goal was enough to see Sewe sail through to the second round that kicks off during the weekend of March 22.Assale found the target in the 45th minute after Kouassi Hevra Dodo placed the ball into his path.Sewe face DR Congo side and four-time winners TP Mazembe on March 23 when they host in the first leg in Abidjan before heading to Lubumbashi for the return leg on March 30.The winner will qualify for the group stage of the Champions League.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Tucber Park take Upper Corentyne to school

first_imgBCB/Stag Beer 50-Over First Division cricket tournamentꟷ join Rose Hall Town in final; D’Andrade, Lindie slam tonsIn a full display of class by the dynamic Tucber Park duo of Anthony D’Andrade and Clifton Lindee — who each smashed centuries to defeat Upper Corentyne by 188 runs at Albion on Saturday last — New Amsterdam/Canje giants Tucber Park Cricket Club have advanced to the finals of the Berbice Cricket Board’s (BCB’s)/Ansa McAL Stag Beer 50-Over tournament.Antony D’AndradeIn the match alluded to, Tucber Park won the toss and elected to bat first. They amassed a massive 338-5 in 50 overs, with former National Under-19 batsman D’Andrade rolling back the years with a polished 110 that included seven boundaries and two sixes; while fellow middle order batsman Lindee also scored 102, including nine boundaries and four sixes.The Upper Corentyne bowlers and fielders struggled to cope with the blazing sunshine abounding at the Albion Sports Complex. Guyana Under-19 batsman Garfield Benjamin struck 53, and Martin Singh made 27, supporting the two century makers as Tucber Park racked up the highest total of the tournament.Upper Corentyne’s best bowlers were Devindra Bishoo with 2-48 and Steve Embrack 2-55.Clifton LindeeRequiring 339 from 50 overs to reach the finals, Upper Corentyne were bowled out for 150 in 40 overs, to lose the match by 188 runs. Veteran off-spinner Devon Clements grabbed 3-26, while paceman Nial Smith had 2-20 and Guyana Under-19 pacer Leon Swammy bagged 2-18 for the Tucber Park team.Tameshwar Ramoutar top-scored with 48, while Embrack and Gooniah chipped in with 21 and 18 respectively.The BCB will shortly name the date and venue for the finals, once certain arrangements fall into place.The Tucber Park side would be spearheaded by the returning Warriors’ player Romario Shepherd, and include Devon Clements, Garfield Benjamin, Kwesi Mickle, Clifton Lindee, Nial Smith, Leon Swammy and Damon Vantull.The powerful Rose Hall Town Namilco Flour team would include players like Shawn Pereira, Clinton Pestano, Eon Hooper, Delbert Hicks, Kevin and Junior Sinclair, Keith Simpson, Kevlon Anderson, Jonathan Rampersaud, Sylus Tyndall and Jason Sinclair.last_img read more