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Open thread 9/14


This is an open thread. We’ll post any breaking news.


  • 1. VIRick  |  September 15, 2020 at 1:03 pm

    New Hampshire: Transsexual Satanist Anarchist Wins GOP Primary for Sheriff

    In a surprising win, Aria DiMezzo has won the GOP primary race in Cheshire County, New Hampshire. DiMezzo describes herself as a “transsexual Satanist anarchist” and ran with the campaign slogan, “Fuck the police.” Now as backlash to her win builds, she’s castigating voters for picking her in the first place without doing any research about the candidate they were voting for.

    DiMezzo, originally celebrated her win, telling "Free Keene," “It is with great joy that I receive this nomination from the Republicans of Cheshire County, who, in an era of Donald Trump, showed their tolerance and dedication to the principles of small-government by nominating the trans anarchic High Priestess of the Reformed Satanic Church to be sheriff.” Sarcasm aside, DiMezzo pointed out that the local and state parties did not support her candidacy. “I can’t imagine they’re happy about this,” she said.

    Shortly after news broke on FOX News that she had won, DiMezzo’s Mitsubishi convertible was vandalized. The perpetrators slashed the car’s tires and cloth top; they also drew a giant penis on the side of the car and wrote “FAG” inside the graffiti. They also stole her “Fuck ’em Both” presidential campaign sign that was in her front yard.

    DiMezzo says her candidacy was a pointed attack on partisanship and the two-party system that forces voters to pick a political party over qualified candidates. “More than 4,000 people went into the voting booth on 8 September this week, and they all filled in the circle by my name despite knowing absolutely nothing about the person they were nominating to the most powerful law enforcement position in the county,” she wrote. “The system that let you down by allowing me – the freaking transsexual Satanist anarchist – be your sheriff candidate is the same system I’m attacking. I’m sorry, and I know it hurts to hear, but that system is a lie.”

    Before legally changing her name to her current operatic monicker, DiMezzo ran as a Libertarian in 2018, garnering only 2.3% of the vote in a three-way race.

    Cheshire County is a large, well-populated county occupying the southwestern corner of the state, abutting both Massachusetts and Vermont. Keene is its county seat.

  • 2. VIRick  |  September 15, 2020 at 5:29 pm

    Update on Hurricane Sally, Off-Shore of Mobile AL

    At 7:00 PM CDT on 15 September 2020, Hurricane Sally, with winds to 80 mph., is 75 miles south of Mobile Al and 75 miles southwest of Pensacola FL, heading almost straight north at an extremely slow 2 mph. A Hurricane Warning is in effect from Bay St. Louis MS to Navarre FL. Dauphin Island AL recently reported a sustained wind of 54 mph.

    That puts Baldwin County AL directly in its path, and that is exactly where Scotty lives. So, Scotty, take heed, and take all necessary precautionary measures. Because of the very slow, creeping forward speed, the NHS is predicting historic, life-threatening flooding.

    I have survived two Category 5 hurricanes, as well as two Category 4s, but all of them moved on through quickly. Sally is only a Category 1, and I have never experienced such a slow-moving one quite like this, let alone on flat land, one which has slowed to down to a bare crawl and which will sit on top of you for long, endless hours, with incessant rain pouring down. They are expecting 20-25 inches of rain in the immediate landfall area, somewhere between Mobile and Pensacola.…?

  • 3. VIRick  |  September 15, 2020 at 8:57 pm

    More Update on Hurricane Sally, Still Slightly Off-Shore

    At 10 PM CDT on 15 September 2020, Hurricane Sally, with 85 mph. winds, is 65 miles south-southeast of Mobile AL and 60 miles southwest of Pensacola FL, heading slightly north-northeast, still at an extremely slow 2 mph. The Hurricane Warning has shifted slightly further east, from Bay St. Louis MS to the Okaloosa/Walton county line FL. Hurricane force winds extend outward for 40 miles. In combination with the slow forward speed, this means that the same landfall area will be battered for 36-48 hours. But it is still the insane amount of accompanying rain that will inundate practically everything.

    Dauphin Island AL, on the western side of the entrance to Mobile Bay, has an average elevation of 7 feet, and expects storm surge of 6-9 feet. The causeway has been closed, power is off, and everything is already under water.

    Gulf Shores AL, on the eastern side of the entrance to Mobile Bay, is also flooded with storm surge, while experiencing violently heavy rain, and 80 mph. winds.

  • 4. VIRick  |  September 15, 2020 at 11:59 pm

    At 1:30 AM CDT on 16 September 2020, Sally's northern eye-wall is reported to be 50 miles southeast of Mobile AL, with winds now to 110 mph, as it still barely crawls along to the north-northeast at 2 mph. Hurricane-force winds now extend from Pensacola Beach FL westward to Dauphin Island AL, with the latter now experiencing winds to 90 mph.

    At that slow forward speed, it will continue like this along that coastal stretch for the next 36 hours, as Sally has yet to make landfall.

  • 5. VIRick  |  September 16, 2020 at 10:30 am

    Hurricane Sally Has Made Landfall

    At 10:00 AM CDT on 16 September 2020, the center of Hurricane Sally, with winds to 85 mph., is 15 miles west-northwest of Pensacola, and is moving north-northeast at 5 mph. Catastrophic, life-threatening flooding is occurring over the far western end of the Florida panhandle and southern Alabama. The Pensacola NAS measured the wind at 82 mph., and the Mobile Downtown Airport reported it at 68 mph. From Tallahassee westward to Mobile, 8-12 more inches of rain are expected this afternoon.

    At 12:00 noon CDT on 16 September, the center of Sally was reported to be 20 miles north of Pensacola, still moving north-northeast at 5 mph. Tate High School, in Pensacola, reported the wind there at 81 mph. But remember, too, the eye-wall is still 40 miles wide.

  • 6. VIRick  |  September 15, 2020 at 7:29 pm

    Barbados: Government to Recognize "a Form of Civil Union" for Same-Sex Couples

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    This civil union announcement has two further important caveats:
    1) Same-sex sexual activity is still illegal on the island;
    2) Government is still bound by the IACHR (CIDH) ruling requiring LGBT marriage equality.

    to which one must add a third caveat:
    3) One does not hold general-election-style referenda votes on other people's basic human rights. That is why the elected representatives are elected to represent the electorate in the first instance. As such, one does not fob off one's elected duty and responsibility back onto the masses, otherwise known as the general public. Furthermore, referenda votes in the British Caribbean have a near-zero chance of passage. But regardless, Parliament must still vote on the same measure in order for it to become law. In the British form of government, nothing becomes law through any sort of popular referendum. (Remember the useless referendum in Bermuda on same-sex marriage? Afterward, Parliament still had to act. All that referendum did was buy more time for Parliament to procrastinate, while generating a lot of heat among the "religious" nut-jobs. We will now witness a repeat performance of this in Barbados, but beginning with a much watered-down version, "a form of civil union," while same-sex sexual activity remains illegal.)

    Per "Barbados Today:"

    Government has revealed that it is prepared to “recognize a form of civil unions for couples of the same gender” so as to ensure that no human being in Barbados will be discriminated against, in exercise of civil rights that ought to be theirs.

    However, Governor-General Dame Sandra Mason who made the announcement during this morning’s Throne Speech, at the opening of the new session of Parliament held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, emphasized that “my Government is not allowing any form of same- sex marriage, and will put this matter to a public referendum. My Government will accept and be guided by the vote of the public as promised in the manifesto,” Dame Sandra stated.

    "If we wish to be considered among the progressive nations of the world, Barbados cannot afford to lose its international leadership place and reputation. Nor can a society as tolerant as ours, allow itself to be ‘blacklisted’ for human and civil rights abuses or discrimination on the matter of how we treat human sexuality and relations. My government will do the right thing," Dame Sandra said.

    In this context, when the Governor-General says, "My government," British-style, she is actually reciting a speech prepared for her by the Prime Minister, Mia Motley.

  • 7. VIRick  |  September 16, 2020 at 8:37 pm

    Barbados Opposition Senator: Same-Sex Sexual Activity Must First Be Legalized

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Opposition Senator Caswell Franklyn has urged Government to stop sending mixed signals on legalizing same sex relationships and on allowing Barbadians to vote on the issue.

    “What Government must do is to change the law if they want to do this thing, because they are encouraging people to break the law. Let me make it absolutely clear that I don’t care what you or anybody else does in the privacy of their homes. But our law says it is illegal, and I don’t know if you call it sex, but if you have that type of thing with a man and man, that is a crime in Barbados still. Now, if you want to encourage that, and you want to talk about discrimination, you must change that law first,” he argued. “When you have these civil unions of people living together, they don’t just go home, cook, and have breakfast and dinner, and then watch television."

    This issue of simultaneously legalizing homosexuality, along with same-sex marriage (or a form of civil union), did not arise in either Bermuda or the Cayman Islands. On its own, Bermuda legalized the first in 1994, while the Cayman Islands, as a British Overseas Territory, had it legalized for them by the British government in 2001. However, despite this Barbados opposition senator's apparent sentiment, the politicians are fairly unlikely to act upon changing the law regarding legalizing same-sex sexual activity. The courts need to step in and do it for them, as has already been done in Trinidad/Tobago and in Belize, particularly now that precedent has been set.

    As far as Barbados being a leader of anything, it is only a "leader' in this sense: Of the final 9 ex-British colonies in the western hemisphere in which homosexuality is still illegal, Barbados is the only one of the 9 legally obligated to change its law based on the CIDH ruling, a point not even mentioned in either discourse.

  • 8. VIRick  |  September 17, 2020 at 6:36 pm

    Barbados: New Report Clarifies Issue of Civil Unions for Same-Sex Couples

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    A new report out today, 17 September 2020, in Barbados clarifies:
    1.) Government intends to pass a civil union law for same-sex couples.
    2.) Government intends to put marriage equality to a referendum (by definition, in the British system, referenda are non-binding and never have the force of law).
    3.) Government still has no plan to erase the colonial era "buggery" law (interpreted as banning same-sex sexual activity between men).

  • 9. ianbirmingham  |  September 16, 2020 at 3:08 pm

    Florida’s new Supreme Court justice belongs to Christian group using law to ‘spread the Gospel’

    Jamie Grosshans, the last-minute choice of DeSantis to the Florida Supreme Court, is an anti-abortion defender who has been active in a number of Christian legal groups, including a powerful national organization whose mission is to “spread the Gospel by transforming the legal system.”

    Both times Grosshans applied to the state’s high court, she left out some details on her application: specifically her membership in the Alliance Defending Freedom, her work as a Blackstone Fellow, a prestigious but secretive national award that trains rising star lawyers in the conservative teachings of the Alliance Defending Freedom, and her 2011 work with Orlando attorney John Stemberger to prevent a young woman from having an abortion.

    The Alliance Defending Freedom is a national organization that, according to its website “exists to keep the doors open for the Gospel by advocating for religious liberty, the sanctity of human life, freedom of speech, and marriage and family.”

    It trains lawyers and funds cases on abortion, religion, tuition tax credits, and LGBTQ issues. Notably, the group represented the petitioner in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case where a Colorado baker refused to serve a gay couple, and the petitioner in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, the landmark case in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the birth control mandate in employee-funded health plans was unconstitutional.

    Its web site declares: “Marriage has always been a union between one man and one woman” and, “Opponents of marriage will not stop at removing the foundation of civilization.”

    Grosshans was first appointed to be a county judge by then-Gov. Rick Scott in 2017. Her husband, Joshua Grosshans, was a member of the Judicial Nominating Commission that nominated her. A year later, Scott named her to the Fifth District Court of Appeal and within months she had assembled her first application to the Florida Supreme Court.

    Now let's see what groups her husband belongs to:

    * Judicial Nominating Commission for the Ninth Judicial Circuit of Florida

    * The Federalist Society

    * The Christian Legal Society – National Board Member, Florida Statewide Coordinator and President of the Orlando Chapter

  • 10. ianbirmingham  |  September 16, 2020 at 4:33 pm

    Barbados to drop Queen Elizabeth II as head of state

    Barbados will remove Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state and become a republic by next year, its government has announced, making it the first country to drop the monarch in nearly three decades.

  • 11. VIRick  |  September 16, 2020 at 6:07 pm

    Delaware: Sarah McBride Makes Trans History by Winning Primary for State Senate

    Sarah McBride has won the Democratic primary for Delaware State Senate in the state’s First District, putting her on track to become Delaware’s first out transgender legislator. A win in November will also make her the first transgender state Senator elected anywhere in the USA.

    McBride, national press secretary for the Human Rights Campaign, bested Joseph McCole by 93 percent to 7 percent in the primary election on 15 September 2020, the "New York Times" reports. The incumbent, Democrat Harris McDowell, did not seek re-election; he has been a senator since 1976. In November, McBride will face Steve Washington, who was unopposed for the Republican nomination. The district, like the state as a whole, is heavily Democratic, so McBride is likely to win.

    McBride will not only be Delaware’s first out trans lawmaker, but will also be the first out member of the LGBTQ community elected to the legislature, a title she will likely share with Eric Morrison, a gay cisgender man running for the Delaware House in the 27th District. He bested incumbent Earl Jaques in the Democratic primary, and there is no Republican running in the district.

    Delaware is one of just five states that have never elected an openly LGBTQ person to their legislatures, according to Victory Fund; the others are Alaska, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee.

  • 12. VIRick  |  September 16, 2020 at 6:52 pm

    "Washington Blade" Sues Trump Admin. for Ignoring FOIA Requests

    Per Equality Case Files:

    On 15 September 2020, the "Washington Blade," the nation’s oldest LGBTQ newspaper, announced that it has filed a federal lawsuit in District Court for the District of Columbia against the Trump administration over its refusal to turn over e-mails related to a rule change allowing federal contractors to discriminate against LGBTQ workers, specifically that the Dept. of Labor ignored FOIA requests pertaining to said discrimination by federal contractors.

    The suit was filed by attorneys of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, who are representing the "Blade" in this case. Said case has been assigned to Judge Randolph D. Moss.

    The Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief is here:

  • 13. VIRick  |  September 17, 2020 at 2:35 pm

    US Census Data: 980,000 Same-Sex Households in USA

    As of 2019, there were approximately 980,000 same-sex couple households in the United States according to the Census Bureau's American Community Survey. That data point was one of many released by the Census Bureau on 17 September 2020, reports the Associated Press. Last year's American Community Survey was the most detailed yet when it came to identifying and counting same-sex households, both male and female. Of the 980,000 households, 58 percent were married, while the remaining 42 percent were unmarried couples; there were slightly more female-led households than male.

    These numbers do not represent all the LGB people living in the US, since some live alone or with family or roommates (and some are homeless). More detailed information on all LGBTQ Americans was blocked by the Trump administration in 2018. Still, the information elucidates the size of one segment of the LGBTQ community as well as this group's income.

    On average, same-sex households make more money than opposite-sex couples, with the former averaging $107,210 annually and the latter making $96,932. When broken down by gender, though, the inequality of women's wages becomes apparent, as male-led households earn $123,646, while female-led households only earn $87,690. Another finding from the census found that more women married to women are in the workforce compared to women married to men. The opposite was true for men; fewer men married to men were employed than men married to women.

    Washington DC had the highest concentration of same-sex couple households at 2.4 percent, followed by Delaware (1.3%), Oregon (1.2%), Massachusetts (1.2%), and Washington State (1.1%).

  • 14. ianbirmingham  |  September 17, 2020 at 3:01 pm

    Democrat who opposed equal marriage defeated by gay drag queen in landslide victory

    Earl Jaques Jr, who has sat in the Delaware House of Representatives since 2009, lost out to progressive challenger Eric Morrison – a popular local drag queen who performs as Anita Mann. Morrison claimed 61.13 per cent of the vote in Tuesday’s Democratic primary for house district 27, while Jaques received just 38.87 per cent.

    During the campaign, Jaques had attempted to attack his opponent for performing in drag at a fundraiser. Jaques had told local media: “That is so far off-base for our district, it’s unbelievable. You wonder what the point is. You can have fundraisers, I don’t care about that. But dressing in drag? Really?”

    Happily, it turns out that more than 60 per cent of Democratic voters have no issue with drag queens – but do take some issue with bigotry.

    As Morrison’s campaign noted, the lawmaker “voted against same-sex marriage in 2013, and refused to vote yes or no on banning the barbaric practice of conversion therapy for Delaware’s LGBT minors in 2013.”

  • 15. VIRick  |  September 17, 2020 at 6:45 pm

    Belize: Government Withdraws Equal Opportunity Bill Banning LGBT Discrimination

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    In Belize, in the face of protests from Evangelical groups, on 15 September 2020, Government withdrew the Equal Opportunity Bill, one that would have banned LGBT discrimination, as well as a host of other forms of discrimination.

    Per Belize Cabinet:

    While for some, there might have been genuine consternation, it is regrettable that there was purposeful misinformation from some stakeholders. The legislative process allows opportunities for the venting and redressing of such legitimate concerns. The Cabinet wishes to make the following clear:
    1.) That there was never an intent to pass such legislation without due process being afforded;
    2.) There are very good elements of the bill that would bring about tremendous benefits for the Belizean people, especially as it relates to issues having to do with, but not limited to, our aging population, breastfeeding, persons with disabilities, family responsibilities, gender, HIV positive status, maternity, industrial activity, irrelevant criminal record, lawful sexual activity, political opinion, pregnancy, race, religious activity, sex, sexual orientation, status as a person who is experiencing or has experienced domestic violence, status as an orphan, and a few other statuses."

    Note: "Lawful sexual activity" is a reminder that same-sex sexual activity has been legal in Belize ever since the precedent-setting court ruling there in 2016.

  • 16. VIRick  |  September 17, 2020 at 8:52 pm

    Tlaxcala: Citizen Initiative on Marriage Equality Presented to State Congress

    Per Jessica Techalotzi:

    Hoy, el 17 de septiembre 2020, 25 colectivas (LGBT, aliados, feministas, indígenas, jóvenes, adultos) de Tlaxcala entregaron al Congreso de Tlaxcala la petición (una iniciativa de ley) para modificar el Art. 46 del Código Civil en materia de matrimonio igualitario.

    Today, 17 September 2020, 25 citizens groups (LGBT, allies, feminists, Indigenous, youth, adult) from Tlaxcala submitted to the Congress of Tlaxcala the petition (a bill) to modify Article 46 of the Civil Code pertaining to marriage equality.

    Per Gabriel Gutiérrez G.:

    En Tlaxcala, el Presidente de la Comisión Estatal de Derechos Humanos, Víctor Manuel Cid del Prado Pineda, respaldó la entrega de la iniciativa de Ley por el matrimonio igualitario en esa estado.

    In Tlaxcala, the President of the State Human Rights Commission, Víctor Manuel Cid del Prado Pineda, supported the delivery of the bill for marriage equality in that state.

  • 17. ianbirmingham  |  September 18, 2020 at 5:53 pm

    Supreme Court Justice Ginsberg Dies, Age 87, Of Cancer

  • 18. VIRick  |  September 18, 2020 at 6:58 pm

    The "Notorious RBG," Champion of LGBT Rights on the Bench, Dies at Age 87

    US Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who joined major decisions for LGBTQ rights on the bench and who was known as the “Notorious RBG” in progressive circles, has died at age 87, the "Washington Blade" has confirmed.

    “Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died this evening, surrounded by her family at her home in Washington DC, due to complications of metastatic pancreas cancer,” a Supreme Court spokesperson said in a statement Friday evening, 18 September 2020.

  • 19. VIRick  |  September 18, 2020 at 7:35 pm

    LGBT Champion Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Has Died

    Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died, the court announced this evening, 18 September 2020. Her death is a shock, and yet not a surprise. Ginsburg has been battling a series of illnesses for years. She was diagnosed with colon cancer more than 20 years ago, and ten years later pancreatic cancer, which finally claimed her. She had said that she planned to remain on the Court until she was 90, but at age 87, her time just ran out.

    Ginsburg has been repeatedly hospitalized in recent years, leaving progressives with palpitations that she could die and that Trump could nominate another extremist conservative to the nation’s highest court. Now with the election around the corner, Ginsburg’s death will have huge political ramifications.

    Ginsburg was one of the reliable liberals on the Court and a vocal supporter of LGBTQ rights. On every major Court ruling in the past 25 years, she has come down on the side of LGBTQ citizens, from declaring sodomy laws unconstitutional to overturning “special rights” legislation aimed at barring anti-discrimination protections, to declaring marriage equality a national right.

    Ginsburg was on the side of marriage equality from the beginning, but she did express concern about the Court getting ahead of public opinion. She cited the turmoil around abortion rights as the source of her fear, saying that "Roe v. Wade" came too soon for the public to accept it. But by the time the second marriage case came before the Court, the one that ultimately made marriage a national right, she was clearly ready for the final decision.

    Ginsburg was appointed to the federal bench in 1980, and Bill Clinton nominated her for the Supreme Court in 1993, making her only the second woman justice. By the time she was on the Court for 20 years, she had attained almost mythical cultural status. She was the subject of a Hollywood biopic and was dubbed the "Notorious RBG" for her stinging dissents and workout stamina.

    Ginsburg’s death is going to set off a scorched-earth battle in the Senate. Republicans, who know they are in danger of losing their majority, to say nothing of the White House, have long wished for Ginsburg’s demise, sometimes crudely. With just 46 days to the election, the GOP will be rushing to confirm someone quickly, abandoning any pretext that their excuse for holding up Merrick Garland’s nomination to replace Scalia was legitimate.

    Before her death, Ginsburg dictated a statement to her granddaughter that she should not be replaced “until a new president is installed.” How likely her wish is to be granted remains to be seen. But if anyone needed a reminder as to what is at stake in the election, Ginsburg’s death provides a sorry and frightening reminder.

  • 20. JayJonson  |  September 19, 2020 at 12:15 pm

    So sad to learn of the death of Justice Ginsberg. What an extraordinary career she has had. Her steadfast support of equal rights under the law has made our society fairer and more just.

  • 21. ianbirmingham  |  September 18, 2020 at 5:58 pm

    Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies with her family around her at home after succumbing to pancreatic cancer at 87 after saying: 'My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed'

  • 22. ianbirmingham  |  September 18, 2020 at 6:06 pm

    In April 2017, Senate Republicans led by Mitch McConnell extended the nuclear option to Supreme Court nominations in order to end debate on the nomination of Neil Gorsuch.

  • 23. ianbirmingham  |  September 18, 2020 at 7:28 pm

    McConnell says Trump’s court pick will get Senate vote despite Ginsburg’s dying wish

  • 24. guitaristbl  |  September 19, 2020 at 4:39 am

    And the worst possible thing that could happen has happened. RIP justice Ginsburg. SCOTUS will be a conservative hellhole for years to come, the election has little meaning anymore…

  • 25. guitaristbl  |  September 19, 2020 at 4:45 am

    What little is there to do? Smash the phones with phone calls of Collins, McSally, Gardner, Murkowski and even Romney to not confirm anyone until the election. March at their offices, confront them. Just tell them to follow the McConnell rule.

    EDIT : Murkowski already said she won't be voting to confirm a nominee this close to the election. Collins also said "it is way too close to the election" but with no further statement on her intentions. I expect Romney to do the decent thing as well. That leaves one more senator needed. Hit the vulnerable ones, hit McSally and Gardner hard. They are both dead in the water on their already flailing campaigns if they dare to do this. There must be the kind of mobilization we have not seen before.

    Amy Coney Barrett won't be getting that seat. It would be an utter disgrace for this vile woman to sit in justice Ginsburg's place. An utter disgrace.

  • 26. ianbirmingham  |  September 19, 2020 at 12:02 pm

    This election has BIG meaning. Do you want to create an opportunity to reverse this trend by giving Democrats control of the Presidency and the Senate? Or do you want it to continue until there are 9 Scalias on the court? That's an enormously important meaning, Guitarist.

  • 27. guitaristbl  |  September 19, 2020 at 3:44 pm

    How does it matter if the scalias are 9 or 6 ? Will set precedent change ? Let's be brutallt honest. The federal judiciary has been ruined for a period of time far beyond our lifetimes. My only hope is democrats understand that enough to be brave enough to proceed with expanding the benches. It has been unprecedented but so have been the McConnell manipulations.

  • 28. ianbirmingham  |  September 19, 2020 at 11:25 pm

    It matters because the time needed to correct a 9-0 problem is way longer than the time needed to correct a 6-3 problem. If Trump replaces RBG that will be three seats he's filled. Turning a bad 6-3 into a good 5-4 can be done in as few as 2 nominations, which could only require 1 Presidency. From a 9-0, that's 5 nominations and 3-4 Presidencies.

  • 29. VIRick  |  September 20, 2020 at 12:15 am

    The alignment may also depend on the issue at hand. Gorsuch just wrote the "Bostock" decision, and is very unlikely to subsequently rule against his own decision. And Roberts previously voted to save the ACA. He is also very keen on maintaining precedent and the legacy of the "Roberts court."

    I have no idea what the odds are that the two together would join with the 3 liberals. However, I can foresee where, even in a worst-case scenario, we may only be down 4-5, not 3-6. We can also hope that Alito and/or Thomas do a "Scalia" in February 2021.

    Despite my personal dislike for Scalia and my fervent desire not to have another Scalia on the Court, a friend of mine who is a criminal defense lawyer in Virginia has reminded me that Scalia often wrote opinions that increased the rights of criminal defendants. And as Gorsuch discovered, Scalia wrote the opinion, over 20 years ago, which stated that habitually using anti-gay slurs in the workplace against a fellow worker was sexual harassment. The point is: Once in a while, even the most die-hard of die-hards might have a redeeming feature shine through their ridiculous "originalist" garbage.

  • 30. ianbirmingham  |  September 19, 2020 at 12:09 pm

    If there was still a vacancy by January, a victorious Biden could appoint a liberal nominee, leaving the conservative-liberal balance at 5-4. With other current Justices on the court in their 70s and 80s, without the Trump nominee, a Biden presidency could have further vacancies that could swing the balance of the court completely.

    Trump has already remade the federal bench for a generation and the new vacancy in the highest court gives the president the ability to shape its future for decades to come if he is re-elected in November.

  • 31. JayJonson  |  September 19, 2020 at 12:18 pm

    guitaristbl, the election is more important now than ever. Even if McConnell pushes through a Trump nominee (and there is some hope that he will not be able to do so), the stakes for the election has just increased. If the Democrats gain control of the Senate and the White House, they can reform SCOTUS in various ways, including enlarging it and changing the process of nominating justices. If the Democrats gain control, they can also increase the number of appellate judges, many circuits of which are woefully understaffed. The last thing we need now is a fatalistic attitude. Indeed, we must see this crisis as yet another reason for Democrats to get out the vote.

  • 32. guitaristbl  |  September 19, 2020 at 1:59 pm

    If Trump and McConnell are able to to push through Barrett (as she is certain to be the nominee IMO) I cannot see a scenario where the Democrats don't stomp through to gain a Senate Majority as well honestly. McConnell callous disregard for the rules he has made in 2016 will be another point to hit them hard with. Collins especially will be crushed by Gideon and even the SC Graham seat seemed to be tightening before that and with Graham reversing course on his 2016 stance he becomes even more vulnerable. Gardner, McSally and more will be going down even more easily. But to expand the bench, reform federal benches it will take consensus from a bunch of Democrats from conservative leaning districts and states in the house and a dem controlled Senate. It won't be easy to find consensus to do something so bold.
    Some of these Republicans know that they have a better fighting chance if they decide to leave the scotus seat vacant and use it as an election issue to drive out their base, especially the most vulnerable ones. This is where they must be pressed on. Murkowski already said she won't do it, Collins won't do it, Romney won't do it. We need one more to stop it and there must be a battle, a big one.

  • 33. Elihu_Bystander  |  September 19, 2020 at 5:56 am

    Mexican LGBTQ Catholics Praise Archbishop, Church Leaders for Commitment to Inclusion

  • 34. ianbirmingham  |  September 19, 2020 at 1:50 pm

    Hong Kong's High Court has ruled in favour of a gay homeowner, but has also again refused to recognise same-sex marriages

    Edgar Ng, a gay homeowner who applied for judicial review in 2019, was granted the right to equal home ownership with his husband.

    Ng launched the legal bid when he found out his husband, Henry Li Yik-ho, would be unable to inherit their home as the marriage wasn’t legally recognised in Hong Kong.

    [But] in the case of Jimmy Sham, a civil rights activist who had filed a lawsuit for the city to recognise foreign same-sex marriages, the court ruled against.

    Sham had argued that Hong Kong’s failure to recognise same-sex marriages like his – he married his partner in New York – was a violation of Article 25 of Hong Kong’s Basic Law, but Justice Anderson Chow rejected this argument.

    In May, Hong Kong LGBT activists urged the incoming chief justice to work with them on marriage equality, despite his history of denying queer rights.

    Andrew Cheung Kui-nung will become the new chief justice of Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal (the special administrative region’s highest court) in January provided his appointment is approved by the legislative council.

  • 35. ianbirmingham  |  September 19, 2020 at 1:56 pm

    Majority of voters say Trump should not nominate a Supreme Court justice

    Do you think President Donald Trump should appoint a new Supreme Court Justice to fill the seat left vacant by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg before the presidential inauguration in January 2021? (42% Yes, 51% No, 7% Undecided)

    If President Donald Trump appoints a new Supreme Court Justice before the presidential inauguration in January 2021, do you think the US Senate should confirm the nominee? (45% Yes, 48% No, 7% Undecided)

    Which candidate would do a better job selecting a Supreme Court Justice? (40% Trump, 49% Biden, 11% Don't Know)

  • 36. VIRick  |  September 19, 2020 at 6:29 pm

    Delaware: Lesbian Progressive Defeats Senate President Pro-Tem in Democratic Primary

    A lesbian social worker in Delaware defeated the President Pro Tem of the Delaware State Senate in the state’s 15 September Democratic primary, becoming the third LGBTQ candidate to win the primary in a state legislative race in Delaware. Marie Pinkney received 52.4 percent of the vote in early returns in the 13th State Senate District in the Wilmington area in her win over State Sen. David McBride, drawing the attention of Delaware political insiders throughout the state.

    Her campaign website says she grew up in New Castle and Wilmington and attended Delaware State University and graduate school. It says she currently works as a trauma social worker and case manager on healthcare-related programs, providing services for patients and families.

    Pinkney was among the many progressive, left-leaning Democrats across the country who have challenged more moderate Democrats for seats in state legislatures and in Congress. Pinkney’s primary victory came on the same day that transgender Democrat Sarah McBride won her primary race for another seat in the Delaware State Senate in Wilmington and that gay Democratic activist and human resources manager Eric Morrison won his primary race for a seat in the state’s House of Representatives in the Newark area.

  • 37. VIRick  |  September 19, 2020 at 6:54 pm

    Important Generalized Legal Notice: RE: Social Security Survivor's Benefits

    Please take note if this information pertaining to the "Thornton" ruling may apply to your own personal situation.

    Per Equality Case Files:

    On 11 September 2020, in "Thornton v. Commissioner of Social Security," a federal district court in Washington State ruled that the Social Security Administration may not deny surviving same-sex partners who were barred from marriage from accessing Social Security spousal survivor’s benefits. Though these principles should apply to all surviving partners in this position, the court’s ruling directly applies only to those who have applied for survivor’s benefits. To maximize the possibility that you may be protected by this ruling, you may wish to consider applying for benefits immediately and before the district court enters final judgment, which could occur as early as 9 October 2020.

    For more detailed information, see:

  • 38. VIRick  |  September 19, 2020 at 11:34 pm

    Latest Polls Show Democrats Could flip 5-6 Senate Seats

    The Senate appears to be fairly likely to flip to Democratic control, even with a possible loss in Alabama, for a net gain of 4, with 3 more too close-to-call. The likely balance in the new Congress with give Democrats 51 (or more) to Republicans 49 (or less).

    In Iowa, Greenfield (D) is leading by 2-3% over *Ernst (R)
    In Arizona, Kelly (D) is leading by 8-10% over *McSally (R)
    In Maine, Gideon (D) is leading by 5-12% over *Collins (R)
    In North Carolina, Cunningham (D) is leading by 4-5% over *Tillis (R)
    In Colorado, Hickenlooper (D) is leading by 5-9% over *Gardner (R)
    In South Carolina, Harrison (D) is in a dead-heat with *Graham (R)
    In Montana, Bullock (D) is in a near-tie with *Daines (R)
    In Georgia, Ossoff (D) is even with *Perdue (R)
    In Kansas, Bollier (D) is close behind Marshall (R) for an open seat

    In Michigan, *Peters (D) is ahead by 4-7% over James (R)

    In Alabama, Tuberville (R) appears to be leading over *Jones (D)

    Incumbents are marked (*)

  • 39. guitaristbl  |  September 20, 2020 at 9:48 am

    All these scenarios can turn out positively for the Democrats (except Alabama) but the price that will be payed is Barrett's confirmation. If the GOP wants to hold on those Senate seats it will be smart for them to keep the scotus confirmation as an electoral issue. It's a trade off situation.

    Btw Murkowski and Collins have confirmed they won't vote on a scotus nominee this close to the election. If Romney does the same soon we have a 50-50 tie and it boils down to a single vote. If McConnell knows this he is will rush it well before the election so Kelly cannot take McSally's seat in Arizona. If not there has to be this one senator willing to do the right thing somewhere in this swamp just for once.

  • 40. VIRick  |  September 20, 2020 at 12:05 pm

    If Arizona Democrat Mark Kelly wins a seat in the US Senate, he could take office as early as 30 November, shrinking the GOP’s Senate majority at a crucial moment and complicating the path to confirmation for Trump’s Supreme Court nominee.

    Kelly has maintained a consistent polling lead over Republican Sen. Martha McSally, who was appointed to the seat held by John McCain, who died in 2018. Because the contest is a special election to finish McCain’s term, the winner could be sworn in as soon as the results are officially certified. Other winners in the November election will not take office until January 2021.

    There is also the matter of moving the nomination through the Senate Judiciary Committee, a matter which is out of McConnell's hands. There are 22 members, 12 who are R and 10 who are D:

    Majority Members (12)

    Graham, Lindsey (SC), Chairman
    Grassley, Chuck (IA)
    Cornyn, John (TX)
    Lee, Mike (UT)
    Cruz, Ted (TX)
    Sasse, Ben (NE)
    Hawley, Josh (MO)
    Tillis, Thom (NC)
    Ernst, Joni (IA)
    Crapo, Mike (ID)
    Kennedy, John (LA)
    Blackburn, Marsha (TN)

    Minority Members (10)

    Feinstein, Dianne (CA), Ranking Member
    Leahy, Patrick J. (VT)
    Durbin, Richard J. (IL)
    Whitehouse, Sheldon (RI)
    Klobuchar, Amy (MN)
    Coons, Christopher A. (DE)
    Blumenthal, Richard (CT)
    Hirono, Mazie K. (HI)
    Booker, Cory A. (NJ)
    Harris, Kamala D. (CA)

    On the Republican side, of the several who are up for re-election, Ernst and Tillis are behind in the polls, Graham is neck-and-neck, while Cornyn is only ahead by a small percentage. Also, Grassley, Senate president pro-tem and the second-in-command on the Judiciary Committee (and its former chair, 2015-19), and third-in-line to succeed as President of the USA (behind the Vice-President and Speaker of the House), is an irascible 87-year-old coot, liable to do almost anything, and may well vote to postpone any nomination until the new congress is seated. Grassley is "old school" enough, after 40 years in the Senate, having first been elected to the seat in 1980, to place importance upon senatorial decorum and the traditional rules and procedures. On the other hand, Lindseybelle, as the new chair, having talked out of both sides of his mouth far too frequently of late, is definitely in the hot-seat, quite possibly for the very last time in his political career. Earlier on, he did much better as a foreign policy critic than he has since sticking his head as far up Trump's ass as he can possibly go.

    Also, on Trump's new list, there are 3 sitting Republican Senators, Cruz (TX), Cotton (AR), and Hawley (MO). Although Hawley has stated that he would refuse the nomination, none of them would be able to vote on their own nomination, whether in committee or in the full Senate. Both Cruz and Hawley are sitting on the committee.

    And Cruz is so smarmy that despite being publicly told about the unmitigated ugliness of his wife, along with the unfounded claim that his father killed Kennedy, has also subsequently climbed as far up Trump's ass as he can possibly go. Perhaps, in a childish pique for having now been rejected, after all that unseemly groveling and after having had his hopes falsely inflated, he will thus choose to vote against any other nominee for the vacant court seat if said nominee is not Ted Cruz.

  • 41. guitaristbl  |  September 21, 2020 at 2:42 am

    For some reason my hopes lie on Grassley as well. The opportunity to seat Barrett may be too tempting though even for an old school GOPer like him.

    As for the Kelly scenario replacing McSally I am sure McConnell will do everything possible to end the matter before November 3rd.

  • 42. ianbirmingham  |  September 20, 2020 at 10:47 am

    .gay Is Good – Official Domain Launch Brings Historic LGBTQ Online Representation

    Domain registry Top Level Design today announced the public launch of top-level domain (TLD) “.gay”, enabling consumers, businesses and registrars to join together online in a new way – taking up the banner in honor of every LGBTQ pioneer who helped pave the way, from the first Pride march 50 years ago, to today.

    With .gay domains now available to LGBTQ people, groups and corporate allies of all sizes around the world, this launch takes an important step to connect communities, support businesses and provide clear access to pertinent services and information. In addition to keeping LGBTQ communities safer online, .gay is also setting an industry standard by donating 20 percent of all new registration revenue to benefit LGBTQ nonprofit groups.

    The launch of .gay is meaningful, not only through representation, but through industry-leading anti-hate measures timed at launch to guarantee that .gay as an entire namespace will always be an LGBTQ-friendly space. All .gay domains and registrants will exceed industry standards by prohibiting harassment, hate speech, and anti-LGBTQ content, and are subject to the “.gay Rights Protections” policy. This policy provides enforceable remedies that allows the registry to respond and take down sites that are reported and found to be in violation.

  • 43. ianbirmingham  |  September 20, 2020 at 10:51 am

    Will Democrats try to impeach President Donald Trump over nominee to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg?

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says Democrats will use ‘every arrow in our quiver’

  • 44. VIRick  |  September 20, 2020 at 10:12 pm

    Spain: First Muslim City Council Member of Madrid Officiates Same-Sex Marriage

    Maysoun Douas es la primera concejala musulmana que oficia una boda LGTBI en Madrid. Maysoun Douas, concejala en el Ayuntamiento de Madrid, es la primera musulmana en oficiar un matrimonio LGTBI en la capital. Atabiada con hiyab, se mostró orgullosa por el acto, que tuvo lugar en La Casa de la Panadería el 18 de septiembre 2020.

    Maysoun Douas is the first Muslim councilor to officiate an LGTBI wedding in Madrid. Maysoun Douas, councilwoman in the Madrid City Council, is the first Muslim to officiate an LGTBI marriage in the capital. Attired in a hijab, she was proud of the event, which took place at La Casa de la Panadería on 18 September 2020.

    Note: This was not a Muslim wedding ceremony, as neither of the two women who married were Muslim. Instead, it was a civil ceremony performed by a Madrid city council woman in her civil capacity, but who, by happenstance, is herself a Muslim.

  • 45. VIRick  |  September 20, 2020 at 11:08 pm

    Chile Supreme Court: When Blood No Longer Rules, Another Step Forward for Parentage

    Per "La Tercera:"

    Cuando la sangre ya no manda. Tras acoger una demanda de reclamación, el 18 de septiembre 2020, la Corte Suprema ordenó al Registro Civil reemplazar en la partida de nacimiento al padre biológico de una adolescente por su “padre social.”

    After accepting a claim, on 18 September 2020, the Supreme Court ordered the Civil Registry to replace the biological father of an adolescent girl with her “social father” (that is, with the name of the man who is helping to raise her since she was 4 years old) on the birth certificate.

    This reasoning is now precedent in la Cuarta Sala. Said ruling provoked many immediate responses:

    Per Carlos Oyarzo Torres:

    Felicitaciones a la familia. Mi caso es muy parecido, diferencia es que la Corte Suprema me rechazó como padre. Aún hay ministros conservadores en esta materia y aplican la doctrina biológica más que la posesión notaria. Saludos desde Chiloé.

    Congratulations to the family. My case is very similar, the difference is that the Supreme Court rejected me as the father. There are still conservative justices on this matter and they apply the biological doctrine more than the notarial possession. Greetings from Chiloé.

    Note: Chiloé is a large, well-populated off-shore island, lying southwest of Puerto Montt, near the northern end of the Chilean fjords. Having given its name to the rest of the country, Chiloé is ranked as being the most traditional location in all of Chile, famous for its colorful hand-knit alpaca sweaters.

    Per Emma de Ramón:

    Es como debió ser hace muchos años: soy madre porque quise serlo, no por mandato biológico.

    It is as it should have been many years ago: I am a mother because I wanted to be one, not by biological mandate.

    Per Fundación Iguales:

    El máximo tribunal ha dado un paso importante en materia de reconocimiento de la diversidad familiar, ratificando que la biología no es el único antecedente de la filiación, sino que las relaciones sociales también determinan quiénes son padres, madres, e hijos.

    The highest court has taken an important step in the recognition of family diversity, confirming that biology is not the only antecedent of parentage, but that social relations also determine who are fathers, mothers, and children.

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