FOLLOWING MONEY IN 2016 PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS

Friday, June 28, 2013

READ, IN CONTEXT: New Referendum Filed Targeting Common Core Education Standards

The second referendum coming out of the Arizona Legislature's contentious Special Session has been filed, and it aims to prevent Arizona schools from implementing new, national Common Core curriculum standards. (text of referendum and contact information posted below)

"We the People AZ Against Common Core" filed the referendum on Wednesday, and they are seeking  a statewide vote on one portion of the K-12 education budget reconciliation bill passed by both Houses of the Legislature and signed by the Governor earlier this month.  They must collect at least 86,405 valid signatures before September 11, 2013 to get it placed on a ballot.

Rather than trying to prevent the entire education bill from going into effect, the organizers have singled out the small portion that doubles the bonding capacity of school districts.  Interestingly, the increase applies to bond "elections held both before and after the effective date of this act."

We the People AZ Chair Wesley Harris, formerly a leader of the Original North Phoenix Tea Party organization, tells Arizona's Politics that he is "certain it is aimed at funding Common Core since all such funds were removed from the budget."  Harris believes that the section was part of a quid pro quo to get support from some Republicans for the Medicaid (AHCCCCS) Expansion - a measure that is also subject of a referendum drive.

Harris indicates that he intends to get the petition in the hands of the volunteer circulators already working on the AHCCCS Expansion referendum, and that he is playing "catch up" because this bill came up in the Special Session "as a bolt out of the blue."

Common Core is a new set of math and English curriculum standards that are gaining attention throughout the country, and is being encouraged by the U.S. Department of Education.  Arizona is one of 46 states that have adopted them, but many conservative groups around the nation are trying to keep them from being implemented.  Earlier this week, there was an interesting report on NPR explaining the opposition.

Harris was last in the news last year, when he proposed recalling Senator John McCain (R-AZ), following the Senator's defense of Huma Abedin.



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Thursday, June 27, 2013

UNCONSTITUTIONAL: U.S. Supreme Court Refuses To Hear Governor Brewer Petition On Eliminating Health Benefits For Same Sex Partners Of State Employees

(updated 12:30pm to add video from Attorney General Tom Horne)

One day after its major ruling striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, the U.S. Supreme Court - with two brief words - struck down Arizona's law attempting to eliminate health benefits for same sex partners of state employees.

The Supreme Court denied the appeal (the writ of certiorari) from Governor Jan Brewer and Attorney General Tom Horne, refusing to review the opinion by the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals finding that the 2009 law (reversing the Executive Order by then-Governor Janet Napolitano) violated the U.S. Constitution.

Brewer had taken a very vocal stand in favor of the state measure, and had deemed it to be a states' rights issue when she announced the appeal to the highest court in the land last year.  Arizona also argued that the law was not discriminatory because it also effected other groups when it redefined "dependents" to include "spouses" - a "domestic partner" not qualifying as a "spouse".

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne also went to the media to declare that he believed the Supreme Court would rule in his - Arizona's - favor, and noting that it was just one of the many cases he was bringing in the Arizona-vs-the-feds states' rights battle.

CBS 5 - KPHO

Here is the 9th Circuit opinion that the Court refused to review.  Arizona's appeal had also been supported by legal briefs (amici curiae) filed by the Center for Arizona Policy, the Eagle Forum, and several states (Indiana, Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Virginia)




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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Status Conference Re-Set On Anti-Arpaio Recall Lawsuit; Constitutionality of Recall Waiting Period (Still) At Issue

Less than two weeks after the original judge in the lawsuit that was filed to stop the recall of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio disqualified himself, the new judge has set a status conference on the practically moot case. (Minute entry below)

Superior Court Judge Lisa Flores has set up a status conference for July 11 to help her decide how to proceed.  Recused Judge Michael Herrod had chosen to set oral argument on the central issues of the case, even though it had appeared at the time that the recall would possibly not qualify for the ballot.   Somewhat surprisingly, anti-recall attorneys asked that the hearing be set even if petitions were not turned in, claiming that the issue of the constitutionality of recall efforts filed within six months of an officeholder's re-taking of the oath of office (upon re-election) was one capable of being repeated and avoiding judicial review.

Recall organizers did not turn in the signatures they had gathered, and the recall effort died.  However, recall attorneys continued fighting the lawsuit (they are seeking sanctions against the plaintiffs) and asked that the judge be disqualified because of his potential conflict.

At the May 29 conference, Judge Herrod disclosed his potential conflict, that the law firm he had previously been a partner in (before becoming a judge) was representing Sheriff Arpaio in the federal civil suit Melendres v. Arpaio.  A couple of weeks earlier, U.S. District Court Judge G. Murray Snow ruled that the Sheriff's Office had engaged in racial profiling.



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FOLLOWING MONEY IN ARIZONA'S POLITICS: Immigration Reform Debate Cooperates, Sen. Flake Available To Pinch Hit For Diamondbacks Today

Backup Diamondbacks infielder Eric Hinske served his one-game suspension for the Arizona-Los Angeles kerfuffle, and is available to pinch hit tonight (4:05, Arizona Time) against the Washington Nationals.  Likewise, Arizona Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) has served his time this week in the ongoing comprehensive immigration reform kerfuffle, but is available to be BACK* at Nationals Park when the first pitch is thrown.

Perhaps unfortunately for the D'Backs though, Flake will be up in one of the luxury suites.  As Arizona's Politics noted last month, the first-term Senator - in the first year of his six-year term - is holding a re-election fundraiser at today's baseball game.

Here's the attempt at song (re-)writing that we made last month.  (Just in case you did not have the opportunity to mock it then.):

Take Flake out to the ball game,
Take along a lobbyist or two,
Give him more'n peanuts and Cracker Jack,
You don't care that its for 20-18.
Let's root, root, root for immigration reform,
If it stalls in the House it's a shame.
For it's ONE, TWO thousand, not more, 
At the old fund raiser!

Again, let us know if you see the Senator there and if you see whether the fundraiser attendees are wearing Arizona or Washington gear!




* As the accompanying picture shows, Flake took his swings and played 3rd base at Nationals Park earlier this month.


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READ: Judge In DiCiccio Campaign Finance Case Denies Restraining Order Request, Sets Hearing

The Superior Court judge turned down opponents of City Councilmember Sal DiCiccio yesterday, denying their request for a Temporary Restraining Order against a campaign committee and subsequent corporation that DiCiccio had set up to fight an attempted recall in 2011.  (Minute entry and Defendants' Response below)

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Mark Brain set up oral argument for July 8 on the issues as to whether plaintiffs - three women opposed to DiCiccio's re-election this year - are allowed to file suit alleging that the surplus funds from the 2011 anti-recall committee were improperly transferred to a corporation set up by DiCiccio.



Arizona's Politics previously linked to the Plaintiffs' Complaint (courtesy of KFYI.com).  Defendants filed their response yesterday, shortly before the hearing.  In it, they note that the corporation set up DiCiccio for the surplus funds from the anti-recall effort was publicly listed as a non-profit (501(c)(4) application still pending with the IRS) and that he is not permitted - by Board resolution - to pay himself from those funds.

They also make the argument for the legality and propriety of the arrangements for the surplus funds.  The state statute permits a transfer to a 501(c)(3) charitable organization and has a catch-all disposal clause; defendants make the argument that their 501(c)(4) (pending) non-profit corporation falls under the latter.



DiCiccio is up for re-election in City Council District 6, and early ballots will be mailed out on August 1 (for an August 27 election) .  His opponent is Karlene Keogh Parks.

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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

WATCH, IN CONTEXT: Sen. McCain Calls Out "Ill-Informed" Nebraska Senator For "Series Of False Statements" About Border Security, Immigration Reform

Arizona Senator John McCain (R-AZ) went off on Nebraska Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE) on the floor of the Senate this morning for speaking out against the Senate's comprehensive immigration bill with the newly-passed border security amendment.

Fischer was finishing reading her statement as to why she was opposing the Senate's bill, saying it "remains fatally flawed", and McCain asked her permission to put a question to her.  She accepted, and McCain - one of the "Gang of 8" which proposed the immigration reform - asked her whether she had ever visited the U.S.-Mexico border.

When Fischer said that she had visited the border in Texas about a decade ago, McCain got to the heart of his response:

"She is so ill-informed in the statement I just saw I don't know where to begin, except to say that if you don't think that this legislation secures the border, you haven't spent any time on the border.  Certainly not any meaningful time, and I can't express my disappointment in the series of false statements that the Senator just made."

She defended her statement, and McCain offered to host her on a trip to the Arizona-Mexico border to "see what has been done and can be done with the use of technology."  Fischer said she "look(s) forward to accepting his invitation to visit his fine state."



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Monday, June 24, 2013

Gov. Brewer: Let Me Make This Perfectly Clear

Following up on her second Fox News appearance, and her Tweets, Governor Brewer issued a news release late this afternoon to spell out her support for the immigration reform process currently moving forward in the U.S. Senate while hoping that the U.S. House of Representatives continues to make it better.

Since we have already gone through her previous straddling strides, Arizona's Politics will simply present her new statement (click on statement to magnify):




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SEE HOW THEY VOTED: Senate Approves Border Security Amendment, 67-27

Twenty-seven Republicans voted against the Corker-Hoeven Border Security Amendment to the comprehensive immigration reform measure put forward by Arizona Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake (and the other six members of the "Gang of 8").

The amendment passed, 67-27, and the next test will be a cloture vote likely to take place on Wednesday afternoon.

Here is how the Senators voted:



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UPDATE: Senate Approve Border Security Amendment To Immigration Reform, 67-27

The Senate has approved the border security amendment to the comprehensive immigration reform bill.  The vote was 67-27.

You can watch by clicking on the picture below:





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WATCH & READ, IN CONTEXT: Gov. Brewer On Senate's Immigration Bill, Yesterday and Today: I Have Not Endorsed That Bill

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer went back on Fox News Channel this morning to clarify the remarks she had made yesterday on FNC.  The Governor declared "Victory for Arizona" on Sunday, but Tweeted today that that was NOT an endorsement of the Senate's bill.

Brewer led off her Sunday interview by saying "I think that what we're seeing taking place in the Senate is a victory for Arizona.  I'm glad they finally decided to talk about the border surge."  Perhaps because most people see the Senate on the verge of approving the amendment on border security before passing the entire bill with approximately 70 votes, but many took that as Arizona's Governor jumping on the Senate bill bandwagon that was picking up steam among many Republicans.



The National Review ran a blog post declaring it an endorsement.  Arizona's Senators, who are both among the "Gang of 8" that put together the initial bill, praised their Governor.  McCain said:

So, the Governor was back on Fox this morning, sticking with her "Victory for Arizona" line, but clarifying that she is still waiting to see what the House of Representatives does with the subject.


She followed with Tweets of her own, making it ever more clear that she is keeping all of her options open:

"Victory for Arizona" IS a good line that was guaranteed to get headlines.  It appears it was the Governor's imprecise wording ("taking place in the Senate") that got her in trouble with some factions in her party - many of the same people who are already steaming mad at her about the AHCCCS expansion.

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Friday, June 21, 2013

Tuesday Hearing On Campaign Finance Lawsuit Against Phoenix City Councilmmember Sal DiCiccio

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Mark Brain has set an expedited hearing for this coming Tuesday on a lawsuit filed against Phoenix City Councilmember Sal DiCiccio's terminated-yet-still-active anti-recall campaign committee and a personally-owned corporation.

KFYI Radio reported on the lawsuit yesterday, and notes that a complaint was also filed - by a resident of the city council district who recently made a contribution to DiCiccio's anti-recall campaign committee - with the Phoenix City Clerk, the Maricopa County Attorney, and the Arizona Secretary of State.  The hearing may not have appeared on the Court's docket until today.

The Complaint focuses on an anti-recall campaign committee which DiCiccion set up in 2011.  After the recall effort fizzled, the committee transferred more than $120,000 in surplus funds to a corporation that DiCiccio set up.  Although the committee filed termination papers, it is allegedly still active and accepting donations, and the corporation is allegedly using monies for campaign purposes.

Plaintiffs claim that there are numerous violations of Arizona campaign finance law.  Arizona statute A.R.S. 16-915.01 is at the heart of that complaint.  Section A delineates several options for properly disbursing surplus campaign funds, but ends with a catch-all "any other lawful manner."  However, Section B restricts the use of surplus monies and indicates that it cannot be used for the personal use of the candidate (or family).

Plaintiffs claim that the corporation which received the surplus monies is owned and controlled by the DiCiccios.

In the KFYI article, Mr. DiCiccio responds to the complaints by saying that his corporation "followed the law to the letter and disclosed donors."  He says that the complaints represent the "Government Union Bosses" continuing to try to intimidate him and to "deflect (from) the illegal activity of Campaign for Better Neighborhoods that have been attacking me personally."

Arizona's Politics has asked for further responses from both Coucilmember DiCiccio and his challenger in the August election, Karlene Keogh Parks, and will update as warranted.





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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

READ: AHCCCS Expansion Referendum Application Filed Today; The Heat Is On!

Only two days after signed into law, former State lawmakers Frank Antenori and  Ron Gould have filed their referendum on Arizona's Medicaid expansion.  The application and text of the referendum is reproduced below.

The United Republican Alliance of Principled Conservatives (URAPC) has until September 11, 2013 to filed at least 86,405 valid signatures in order to put the expansion to a statewide vote.  Governor Jan Brewer (R) signed the measure into law as part of the budget on Monday.

The URAPC has scheduled a kick-off rally for this Saturday morning outside of the state Capitol, after which they plan to hold mini-rallies in two of the legislative districts where Republican lawmakers voted for the expansion (District 18 in the Southeast Valley, and District 15 in the Northwest Valley).



The signature collection will be during the heat of an Arizona summer.



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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

WATCH: House Debate On 20-Week Abortion Ban

The U.S. House of Representatives debated Arizona Rep. Trent Franks' (R-CD8) 20-week abortion ban this afternoon, before passing it, 228-196.  Earlier in the afternoon, they conducted approximately 75 minutes worth of debate on the bill.  (No members of the Arizonan delegation participated in the debate.)




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House Passes Franks' 20-Week Abortion Ban; Arizona Delegation Votes Along Party Lines

The U.S. House of Representatives passed Arizona Rep. Trent Franks' (R-CD8) 20-week abortion ban this evening, 228-196.  Arizona's four Republicans voted for it, while the five Democrats voted against.  (Only six members of each party voted with the vast majority of the other party.)

Last year, Franks' 20-week ban - which would have just affected the federal District of Columbia - received a majority, 246-168, but needed a 2/3 majority to move to the Senate.  This year's version, which first expanded from D.C. to affecting the entire country, and then was modified this week to include a exception in cases of reported rape or incest, will go to the Senate.  (Where it is highly unlikely to be brought to the floor.)


In addition to the last minute (post-committee) addition of the exception, Franks was taken off of the visible task of being the floor manager for the bill today, following his controversial remarks and criticism about the all-male makeup of the Republican side of the Judiciary Committee that considered the bill.  Female GOP Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) became the face of the bill this week.




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Monday, June 17, 2013

WATCH: Rep. Grijalva On MSNBC Re: Immigration Reform and Tea Party: "Playing A Very, Very Dangerous Game With Our Society"

Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-CD3) was interviewed on MSNBC's The Ed Show over the weekend about building Tea Party efforts to defeat comprehensive immigration reform.

Before the host played clips of Rep. Michelle Bachmann and other conservatives mounting an anti-immigration reform effort.  Grijalva was blunt about the dangers that he believes this type of campaign could lead to:

“The tea party is formidable, and you have to take it very seriously. [. . .] They’re skirting a lot of issues and not dealing with the fundamental reality that we have eleven million [undocumented] people. That we have a plan in the Senate that, while far from perfect, is a beginning to normalizing life for those eleven million people in this country.  Their resistance is not only political. It goes into whole other areas. And I suspect that as this debate gets uglier, that issues of race, issues of language, issues of heritage will become more and more part of the dialogue. And that is dangerous for America. It’s dangerous for divisions we already have and the people that you mentioned are doing this country not only  a disservice but are playing a very, very dangerous game with our society.”



Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


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READ OFFICIAL SUMMARY: U.S. Supreme Court Opinion In Arizona v. Inter-Tribal Council

By a 7-2 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court voted against the State of Arizona in Arizona v. Inter-Tribal Council, and determined that the state's law requiring people to show proof of citizenship when they register to vote is preempted by federal law.

Here is the Syllabus of the opinion - the official summary:

The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA) requires States to“accept and use” a uniform federal form to register voters for federal elections. 42 U. S. C. §1973gg–4(a)(1). That “Federal Form,” developed by the federal Election Assistance Commission (EAC), requires only that an applicant aver, under penalty of perjury, that he is a citizen. Arizona law, however, requires voter-registration officials to“reject” any application for registration, including a Federal Form,that is not accompanied by documentary evidence of citizenship. Respondents, a group of individual Arizona residents and a group of nonprofit organizations, sought to enjoin that Arizona law. Ultimately, the District Court granted Arizona summary judgment on respondents’ claim that the NVRA pre-empts Arizona’s requirement. The Ninth Circuit affirmed in part but reversed as relevant here, holding that the state law’s documentary-proof-of-citizenship requirement is pre-empted by the NVRA.
Held: Arizona’s evidence-of-citizenship requirement, as applied to Federal Form applicants, is pre-empted by the NVRA’s mandate thatStates “accept and use” the Federal Form. Pp. 4–18.

(a) The Elections Clause imposes on States the duty to prescribethe time, place, and manner of electing Representatives and Senators, but it confers on Congress the power to alter those regulationsor supplant them altogether. See U. S. Term Limits, Inc. v. Thornton, 514 U. S. 779, 804–805. This Court has said that the terms “Times, Places, and Manner” “embrace authority to provide acomplete code for congressional elections,” including regulations relating to “registration.” Smiley v. Holm, 285 U. S. 355, 366. Pp. 4–6.

(b) Because “accept and use” are words “that can have more than
one meaning,” they “are given content . . . by their surroundings.” Whitman v. American Trucking Assns., Inc., 531 U. S. 457, 466. Reading “accept” merely to denote willing receipt seems out of placein the context of an official mandate to accept and use something fora given purpose. The implication of such a mandate is that its objectis to be accepted as sufficient for the requirement it is meant to satisfy. Arizona’s reading is also difficult to reconcile with neighboringNVRA provisions, such as §1973gg–6(a)(1)(B) and §1973gg–4(a)(2).

Arizona’s appeal to the presumption against pre-emption invoked in this Court’s Supremacy Clause cases is inapposite. The power the Elections Clause confers is none other than the power to pre-empt.Because Congress, when it acts under this Clause, is always on notice that its legislation will displace some element of a pre-existing legalregime erected by the States, the reasonable assumption is that thetext of Elections Clause legislation accurately communicates the scope of Congress’s pre-emptive intent.

Nonetheless, while the NVRA forbids States to demand that an applicant submit additional information beyond that required by the Federal Form, it does not preclude States from “deny[ing] registration based on information in their possession establishing the applicant’s ineligibility.” Pp. 6–13.

(c) Arizona is correct that the Elections Clause empowers Congress to regulate how federal elections are held, but not who may vote in them. The latter is the province of the States. See U. S. Const., Art. I, §2, cl. 1; Amdt. 17. It would raise serious constitutional doubts if a federal statute precluded a State from obtaining the information necessary to enforce its voter qualifications. The NVRA can be read to avoid such a conflict, however. Section 1973gg–7(b)(1) permits theEAC to include on the Federal Form information “necessary to enablethe appropriate State election official to assess the eligibility of theapplicant.” That validly conferred discretionary executive authorityis properly exercised (as the Government has proposed) to require theinclusion of Arizona’s concrete-evidence requirement if such evidenceis necessary to enable Arizona to enforce its citizenship qualification.
The NVRA permits a State to request the EAC to include statespecific instructions on the Federal Form, see 42 U. S. C. §1973gg–7(a)(2), and a State may challenge the EAC’s rejection of that request(or failure to act on it) in a suit under the Administrative Procedure Act. That alternative means of enforcing its constitutional power to determine voting qualifications remains open to Arizona here. Should the EAC reject or decline to act on a renewed request, Arizona would have the opportunity to establish in a reviewing court that amere oath will not suffice to effectuate its citizenship requirement and that the EAC is therefore under a nondiscretionary duty to include Arizona’s concrete-evidence requirement on the Federal Form. Pp. 13–17.

677 F. 3d 383, affirmed.
SCALIA, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which ROBERTS,

C. J., and GINSBURG, BREYER, SOTOMAYOR, and KAGAN, JJ., joined, and in which KENNEDY, J., joined in part. KENNEDY, J., filed an opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment. THOMAS, J., and ALITO, J., filed dissenting opinions.

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BREAKING, READ: Supreme Court Opinion In Arizona v. Inter-Tribal Council

Here is the link to the Supreme Court's opinion this morning in the Arizona v. Inter-Tribal Council case:  http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/12pdf/12-71_7l48.pdf

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Sunday, June 16, 2013

Oral Argument Vacated In Case Challenging Constitutionality Of (Failed) Arpaio Recall Effort

As expected, the June 25 oral arguments in the case challenging the constitutionality of the (now-failed) attempt to recall Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio have been vacated.  (minute entry below)  

Once Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Michael Herrod disqualified himself earlier this week and it was reassigned to Judge Lisa Flores, it was expected that the oral argument date before Herrod would have to be re-set to accommodate the new judge's schedule.  It also gives either side an opportunity to request that Judge Flores recuse herself - a real possibility given past MCSO activities in her courtroom.

This lawsuit is still active, even after the recall organizers failed to turn in any signatures before the statutorily-imposed deadline of May 30 (120 days after they registered the petition) because plaintiffs argued to the judge at the May 29 status conference that their contention that the recall violated the Arizona Constitution - by not waiting for six months after Arpaio's re-election - still needed to be decided for future recall efforts.  They argued that, like the U.S. Supreme Court most famously held in Roe v. Wade, it was an issue that was capable of repetition yet evading judicial review.






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Saturday, June 15, 2013

LOOK: Sen. Flake Swings! But, Is He A Hit? GOP Gets Trounced For A Good Cause

The annual Congressional Baseball Game for Charity took place under stormy skies this week, and Senator Jeff Flake continued to represent Arizona as he played the hot corner for the Republicans.

The game pits the GOP lawmakers vs. the Democrats, and this year's affair was no contest, as the Democrats won, 22-0.

Flake has been participating in the annual game, which benefits several charities.

Besides covering the game, The Hill (and Congressional Quarterly) also took plenty of pictures, including this great action shot of Flake at bat in the first inning.

Arizona's Politics has asked the Senator's office for information on whether he was able to get that bill ball passed past the infield, and whether the fence - in the outfield - was secure.


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Friday, June 14, 2013

Arizona Congressional Delegation Splits NOT Along Party Lines On Military Reauthorizations; Reaction From Barber, Gosar

The U.S. House of Representatives voted this afternoon to pass the $638 Billion Defense Department Reauthorization bill, and not surprisingly, Arizona's split delegation split its votes - 4 in favor, 5 opposed.  However, the split was NOT along party lines.

The House voted overwhelmingly, 315-108.  Democrats were divided but a majority supported the measure, 103-90, but only 18 Republicans opposed it compared to 212 who voted "aye".

Arizona's Democrats mirrored the rest of their caucus, but the GOP delegation flipped that trend on its ear.  The five Democrats split 3-2, with the two more left-leaning members (Reps. Raul Grijalva and Ed Pastor) opposing it.  On the Republican side, only Rep. Trent Franks voted "aye".

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-CD4) was the only GOP member to issue a statement trumpeting his opposition.  He indicated his opposition was based on his disagreement with the amendments that passed regarding protecting American citizens from indefinite detention.

“In voting against the NDAA, I kept my promise to uphold and protect the Constitution. I will not vote to continue policies that trample on our constitutional rights.”

The Goodlatte (R-VA) amendment on the subject narrowly had passed, 214-211.  Gosar voted against it.  Goodlatte says his amendment, which ensures that suspected terrorists who are detained are entitled to a habeas corpus review, should alleviate Americans' concerns about indefinite detention. 

Rep. Ron Barber (D-CD2), who sits on the Armed Services Committee which worked on this bill, praised it.  "This legislation will ensure that our nation’s defense remains strong and that the men and women who serve our nation are better compensated.  It also includes continued funding for the Southern Arizona companies that provide essential high-tech equipment to the Department of Defense."







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WATCH: Arizona State Rep. Steve Montenegro Speaks Today At Faith & Freedom Coalition Conference In Washington

Arizona State Rep. Steve Montenegro (R-LD13, Avondale) spoke today at the well-covered  Faith & Freedom Coalition Conference in Washington, D.C.  While not getting the same level of enthusiasm as some of the big name speakers (such as Sarah Palin, Sens. Rand Paul and Marco Rubio), Montenegro received a warm welcome as he spoke about his conservative activities in the Arizona Legislature.

He focused on immigration and border security issues, but Montenegro's biggest applause came when he contrasted it to another hot-button issue.  He said he refuses to be lectured by Democrats about "compassion" in the immigration reform debate "when they sat by and let 50 million babies be aborted."

(Montenegro is also District Representative for Rep. Trent Franks (R-CD8), who was a surprise speaker to the F&FC attendees last night.  Arizona's Politics has not yet found video for that speech.)

(clicking on the picture below will open a new window with the video of the speech and Q&A)



http://www.c-spanvideo.org/clip/4456022
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WATCH: Rep. Barber's Floor Speech On Combating Military Sexual Assaults Problem; Stripping Commanders of Right To Reduce/Dismiss Sentences, Requiring Dismissal/Dishonorable Discharge, Additional Victims' Protections

As the House of Representatives is debating and voting on amendments to the defense re-authorization bill today, here is Arizona Rep. Ron Barber's (D-CD2) brief speech on the House Floor Wednesday urging his colleagues to support the provisions inserted by the House Armed Services Committee (on which Barber sits).  The new measures include "stripping military commanders of the power to overturn convictions in rape and sexual assault cases" and imposing a minimum sentence of  dismissal from service or a dishonorable discharge for anyone found guilty of a sex-related crime.

Below the video of Barber's one-minute speech is the text (as provided by his office):


(text below the jump)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

WATCH: Sinema Challenges Congress, President To Reach Agreement On Student Loan Interest Rates

Arizona Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-CD9) used the student loan burdens of real-life Arizona State University students on the floor of the House of Representatives yesterday when she delivered a floor speech challenging her colleagues to "do the right thing" on keeping interest rates on federally-subsidized student loans lower.  They are scheduled to rise on July 1 if Congress and the President do not reach agreement on an alternate plan.

Here is her 3 1/2 minute speech:




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BREAKING: Judge In Arpaio Recall Case Recuses Himself, Due To Previous Law Firm's Representation Of Sheriff In Racial Profiling Case

(Update: See end of arrticle for added paragraph about why case still active, even following failure of recall organizers to file signatures before deadline.)

In a move that may be more of "too little, too late" for the organization that unsuccessfully attempted to recall Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Superior Court Judge Michael Herrod disqualified himself yesterday from hearing the legal arguments about whether the recall effort violated the Arizona Constitution.

The disqualification came quietly one day after Defendants filed their short Motion of Change of Judge Or Recusal.  (Both the Motion and the Court's Minute Entry are reproduced below the jump.)  Judge Herrod had disclosed on May 29 - after having the case for more than two months and one day before the deadline for petition signatures to be turned in - his "potential conflict".  The disclosure also came more than one month after defendants had filed a motion for an expedited hearing on their motion to dismiss the case, a motion that is generally granted and that is not even necessary in many election-related cases.

Following the status conference, defense attorneys were mum as to whether they would ask for recusal.  Plaintiff's attorney Larry Klayman was "confident" that Judge Herrod would remain on the case, noting that his client in the present case is NOT Arpaio but are supporters of his.

Respect Arizona attorney Christopher Ford was pleased by the Judge's prompt reaction to his Motion.  In his comment to Arizona's Politics, Ford noted "Arpaio, Klayman and Smith tried to play politics in the courtroom but failed, because the system worked as it is supposed to. A judge should remove him- or herself from a case where there could be even an appearance of bias, and Judge Herrod properly did just that in Wise v. Bennett."

Arizona's Politics had also reported on the extensive political activism and campaign contribution history of the judge and his wife, Cathi Herrod, who founded and is President of conservative organization Center for Arizona Policy.  Both Herrods had previously contributed to former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas - a close working and political ally of Arpaio.

The new Minute Entry notes that the case has been reassigned to Judge Lisa Flores.  She may not remain on this case as long as the first judge, however.  Judge Flores has had her own history with Sheriff Arpaio's office, and it is difficult to imagine the pro-Arpaio attorneys believing that she will be able to disregard her history with the Sheriff.

This lawsuit is still active, even after the recall organizers failed to turn in any signatures before the statutorily-imposed deadline of May 30 (120 days after they registered the petition) because plaintiffs argued to the judge at the May 29 status conference that their contention that the recall violated the Arizona Constitution - by not waiting for six months after Arpaio's re-election - still needed to be decided for future recall efforts.  They argued that, like the U.S. Supreme Court most famously held in Roe v. Wade, it was an issue that was capable of repetition yet evading judicial review.

Defendants' Motion to Recuse, and the Court's Minute Entry, are below.

UPDATE, READ: Transcript of Rep. Franks' Controversial Rape/Pregnancy Comments, Full Exchange With Reps. Nadler, Lofgren

Yesterday, we reported on the controversy surrounding comments made by Arizona Rep. Trent Franks (R-CD8) at yesterday's House Judiciary Committee meeting, when he said that the incidence of pregnancies resulting from rapes is very low.  Arizona's Politics posted the video from the entire hearing.

I heard from one reader that they had trouble opening the "wmv" file, and I am sure others either had that problem or did not want to try to find the exchange in the long hearing.  The committee has now posted the transcript from the hearing, which makes it much easier for many to review.

Here is the relevant portion, in which they were discussing an amendment to add exceptions for rape or incest to the (amended) bill.  It begins with Rep. Franks speaking (I have italicized the controversial comment itself to make it slightly easier to review the context of the preceding and following conversation):

Mr. Chairman, the tragedy of rape and incest are almost difficult to articulate. It is an evil that beggars my ability to express. And I think all of us know that here.
And I noticed that the rape/incest exception that the gentleman has doesn't have anything about whether it should be reported or not because all of the other rape and incest exceptions do. They said it should be reported within 48
hours or so.
And yet the difference here is that these babies are going into the sixth month, and the notion that we should wait until the sixth month to report rape or incest is a flawed one. I mean, based on that, why would we have a logical argument not to extend that to 6 months after they were born? I don't think any of us would argue that a child should be killed because of the sins of an evil rapist.
What we need to do is be harder on the rapists. I wonder how many of my colleagues on the other side would say that we should suggest a death penalty for the rapist, but they certainly do for the child.
So, Mr. Chairman, this is the fundamental opposition here should be predicated on the notion that this child is going into the sixth month of pregnancy, as dated by most OB/GYNs and abortionists and neonatologists. And to say that we wait until then to say that there is a rape or incest involved is waiting too long, and that is why I would oppose the amendment.
Mr. Nadler. Would the gentleman yield for a question?
Mr. Franks. Yes.
Mr. Nadler. Thank you.
I am not going to debate the substance of the amendment. The arguments on both sides are, I think, quite well known. But I noticed you asked -- you noted, rather, that the amendment does not make any requirement that the rape or incest be reported.
My question is what difference does that make? What is the point of that?
Mr. Franks. Well, the point I was trying to make, Mr. Nadler, is that before, when my friends on the left side of the aisle here tried to make rape and incest the subject because the incidence of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low, but when you make that exception, there is usually a requirement to report the rape within 48 hours. And in this case, that is impossible because this is in the sixth month of gestation, and that is what completely negates and eviscerates the purpose for such an amendment.
Mr. Nadler. I thank the gentleman.
Ms. Lofgren. Mr. Chairman?
Mr. Franks. Mr. Chairman, I yield back.
Chairman Goodlatte. Who seeks recognition? The
gentleman from New York, for what purpose do you seek recognition?
Mr. Nadler. Move to strike the last word.
Chairman Goodlatte. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. Nadler. Thank you.
Mr. Chairman, I will be brief. I just want to observe that the only reason in this context why a reporting requirement is relevant -- and yes, you are right. If you are talking about a rape that occurred 4 or 5 months ago, she may not have reported it. But what is the difference?
The only reason is if you are really implying that women would lie about a rape in order to get an abortion.
Mr. Gowdy. Would the yield for a question?
Mr. Nadler. Sure.
Mr. Gowdy. Do you not think it is easier to prosecute the rapist the sooner the rape is reported?
Mr. Nadler. Oh, reclaiming my time, I certainly do, and I certainly hope that every rape is reported immediately. But you should know that not every woman reports rape. We should encourage them to do so, obviously.
My point is that in a provision in a bill, rather, or an amendment that says that a pregnancy -- that you can get an abortion under certain circumstances, a pregnancy resulting from rape or incest, the reporting requirement there is a condition on getting the abortion, and that doesn't encourage the reporting or that that is simply saying that we don't trust the woman to be truthful about it.
In any event, I think that someone -- clearly, again, I think this whole bill is a travesty. But someone clearly whose pregnancy results from rape or incest should not be forced to carry, in effect, a hostile pregnancy to term.
I yield back.
Ms. Lofgren. Would the gentleman yield?
Mr. Nadler. Yes, I will yield.
Ms. Lofgren. I would just like to express my support for Mr. Conyers' amendment. Obviously, even if the amendment is passed, the bill is not worthy of support.
I just find it astonishing to hear a phrase repeated that the incidence of pregnancy from rape is low. That is not -- I mean, there is no scientific basis for that. And the idea that the Republican men on this committee think
they can tell the women of America that they have to carry to term the product of a rape is outrageous. 
The Democrats revisited Rep. Franks' comments later in the hearing.  Rather than posting them here, the interested reader should go to line 1848 (page 91) of the transcript.

(Here is the link to the video that was provided yesterday.)

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WATCH: Flake's and McCain's Senate Floor Speeches On Comprehensive Immigration Reform: "We Continue To Look For Ways To Improve the Legislation"

On Wednesday, Gang of Eight member and Arizona Senator John McCain (R-AZ) took to the Senate floor to try to reassure colleagues that he - and the "Group of Eight" - is trying to make comprehensive immigration reform "better and stronger".  He re-emphasized that the legislation is "absolutely needed" because the status quo is "de facto amnesty."


McCain became quite impassioned during this 15-minute speech.

One day earlier, Arizona's other Senator, Jeff Flake (R-AZ), also spoke in favor of moving forward with immigration reform, immediately after the Senate voted to move forward on the bill.  He urged everyone to not assign motives to those who speak out  in opposition, as "passions run high" on this issue.







http://cs.pn/1a7I0sv

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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

WATCH, LISTEN: Rep. Franks' Comments Re: Pregnancies From Rapes

(June 13 update: Arizona's Politics has posted an update with the transcript of the relevant exchange between Reps. Franks, Nadler, Lofgren.)

Arizona Rep. Trent Franks (R-CD8) is the man of the moment for pro-choice and pro-Democratic groups, after the Washington Post ran a story this morning with audio from this morning's House Judiciary Committee hearing in which Franks makes comments reminiscent of last year's well-publicized remarks by Rep-running-for-Senate Todd Akin (R-MO).  

In speaking against attempted Democratic amendments to his bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks, Franks said that "...the incidence of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low.”  The committee hearing was not televised on C-Span, but video from the Judiciary Committee's webiste can be viewed by clicking on the picture below.  Rep. Franks' remarks are at approximately the 1:02.30 mark, and were in response to a question by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) asking why Franks had noted that the rape/incest amendment was inappropriate because the bill is addressing abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and the proposed amendment did not require that the rape needed to be reported within 48 hours.


In addition, the Washington Post posted the below audio clip:

Last week, when Franks' subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice approved the bill and the amendment making it apply to more than just the originally-intended District of Columbia, Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) was the one to make comments about the (lack of) frequency of pregnancies-as-a-result-of-rape seen by one of the witnesses (who had previously performed abortions):

"I asked him the question getting to this point of rape and health issues, et cetera, how many of those abortions that he performed were related to rape or  health issues. And he indicated of the 1,200 abortions that he had done, two were due to a rape....But I just wanted to make clear about how many exceptions and how many times we are talking about either rape or health issues. It is miniscule in comparison to the number of perfectly healthy babies whose lives are snuffed  out every day in this country due to abortion.  "
That may have been the origination of today's comment by Franks.

After Franks' subcommittee hearing on the bill three weeks ago, Arizona's Politics authored a Fact Check on attempts by both Franks' reelection committee and the pro-choice EMILYs List to fundraise off the bill.

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Friday, June 7, 2013

Will McCain Sneak Into Cuba While He's At Guantanamo Today?

Hard on the heels of his slipping into Syria to speak with rebels, and his boldly stepping onto the Senate floor to take on Marco Rubio and Rand Paul, Arizona Senator John McCain is visiting longtime (11 years) U.S. detention-facility-for-alleged-enemies-of-U.S.

McCain (R-AZ) is there with Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and White House chief of staff Denis McDonough.  McCain let the cat out of the bag via his Twitter account, and The Hill confirmed it.


(No word on whether he plans to slip off of the base and visit with any Cubans looking for change in their longtime government.)


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Thursday, June 6, 2013

FYI, U.S. Supreme Court: "No actual expectation of privacy in the phone numbers he dialed, and that, even if he did, his expectation was not 'legitimate.'"

The following U.S. Supreme Court decision was relatively new when I was in law school, and was a topic of discussion in Criminal Law.

In light of the uproar over the news that the FBI is gathering huge databases of phone call logs, it is worth remembering that this is not a new subject.  "Pen registers" have been around for ages, and were used for gathering lists of incoming and outgoing phone calls from our old landlines.

The subject of our expectations of keeping our phone logs private (and away from pen registers) was considered by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1978.  And, in Smith v. Maryland, 440 U.S. 735 (1978), those Justices - some considered "liberal" and some considered "conservative" - found overwhelmingly (6-2, with Justice Powell not taking part) that there is no legitimate expectation of privacy for such information.

The majority opinion was written by Justice Harry Blackmun - the same Justice who wrote the key opinion five years earlier in Roe v. Wade, finding a constitutional right to privacy in other areas - and relies on basic technology of how a dialed phone number has to be transmitted to a phone company which saves the information for legitimate business purposes:

We therefore conclude that petitioner in all probability entertained no actual expectation of privacy in the phone numbers he dialed, and that, even if he did, his expectation was not "legitimate." The installation and use of a pen register, [442 U.S. 735, 746]   consequently, was not a "search," and no warrant was required.
There were two strong dissents written by Justices Potter Stewart and Thurgood Marshall (Justice Brennan  concurred  in both), which are being echoed by many today:
Privacy in placing calls is of value not only to those engaged in criminal activity. The prospect of unregulated governmental monitoring will undoubtedly prove disturbing even to those with nothing illicit to hide. Many individuals, including members of unpopular political organizations or journalists with confidential sources, may legitimately wish to avoid disclosure of their personal contacts. See NAACP v. Alabama, 357 U.S. 449, 463 (1958); Branzburg v. Hayes, 408 U.S. 665, 695 (1972); id., at 728-734 (STEWART, J., dissenting). Permitting governmental access to telephone records on less than probable cause may thus impede certain forms of political affiliation and journalistic endeavor that are the hallmark of a truly free society. Particularly given the Government's previous reliance on warrantless telephonic surveillance to trace reporters' sources and monitor protected political activity, I am unwilling to insulate use of pen registers from independent judicial review. [442 U.S. 735, 752]  
It is a pretty short Supreme Court opinion, and one well worth the time before, during or after engaging in today's debate.

P.S.  The Smith decision came in the same year that FISA was first enacted by Congress.  It is also worth some reviewing the history of that Act.



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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

WATCH: Gabby Giffords Receives JFK Profile In Courage Award, Wishes For "More Courage In Congress"

(I was unable to blog when this happened one month ago.  I am still catching up on some things that took place during that period.)

Former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who survived a 2011 attempted assassination in Tucson which turned into a shooting spree taking the lives of 13, received the 2013 John F. Kennedy Presidential Library Profile in Courage Award in May.

Her husband, former Space Shuttle Commander Mark Kelly, did most of the speaking on Giffords' behalf, but Giffords did take the microphone briefly to take a jab at Congress.

Kelly noted that his wife's "courage is the equivalent of a lunar mission" and that she is determined to make changes that will reduce gun violence in American society.

Giffords then took the microphone for a few seconds and added her thanks.  She could not resist taking a shot at Congress, shortly after the Senate had declined to push forward the Manchin-Toomey amendment aimed at expanding background checks for firearms purchases.

"Thank you to the Kennedy family for this award.  I appreciate it very much.  I believe we all have courage inside.  I wish there was more courage in Congress.  Sometimes, it (is) hard to express it.  I know.  It's been a hard two years for me.  But, I want to make the world a better place.  More than ever.  Thank you."



full clip: http://cs.pn/1b1P2wE
giffords clip: http://cs.pn/17YTOPj

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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

WATCH: McCain On Floor Re: Budget - And, I Ain't Comin' Back Again

Arizona Senator John McCain  once again took to the Senate floor today to berate a few of his Republican colleagues for refusing to proceed on budget negotiations unless there is an agreement to not raise the debt limit.

McCain mentioned by name (actually, by state) Florida Senator Marco Rubio (one of his partners on the comprehensive immigration reform measure), but is also frustrated with Senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and Ted Cruz (R-TX).

He asked that he be able to make his remarks even before Rubio made his way to the chamber, "and fortunately, I don't have to listen again."

Here is his speech:  


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WATCH: Sen. Flake Can Now Be Seen, Heard On Senate Floor; Gives Fair Maiden Speech (Read Text)

Arizona Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) delivered his first floor speech since moving to the U.S. Senate (from the House of Representatives) in January.  As he explained, it is tradition that new Senators are to esentially be seen and not heard during the first few months of their service.  They then make their maiden floor speeches (after which time they can be as long-winded as their colleagues).

Here is Sen. Flake's 11-minute speech.  The text is below the jump.