Sign Up to Receive Email Action Alerts From Issa Exposed

Open thread 10/12 UPDATE 10/13


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

UPDATE 10/13 This morning, the Court denied review in the case we highlighted this week allowing a transgender woman who is incarcerated to have gender-related surgery. Justices Thomas and Alito would hold (on page 8) that the case is moot and the lower court ruling below should be wiped out.


  • 1. VIRick  |  October 12, 2020 at 2:05 pm

    Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Grants Stay to Texas A-G in Mail-In Ballot Case

    The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has issued a temporary order blocking Texas counties from setting up multiple drop-off locations for mail-in ballots.

    On Friday, 10 October 2020, District Court Judge Robert Pittman said Abbott's 1 October order was unconstitutional, as said order allowed only one mail ballot drop-off site per county, no matter its size, which the judge said likely violates the right to vote.

    On Saturday, 11 October 2020, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals granted Republican Texas Attorney-General Paxton's request for an emergency stay of the federal judge's injunction that blocked GOP Gov. Greg Abbott's order limiting counties to just one ballot drop-off location during early voting for the November elections. The appeals court must still decide if it will grant a longer-lasting stay.

    The order from Abbott dramatically reduced the number of places in Texas where voters could drop off mail ballots during early voting and most heavily impacted the state's largest cities, which are also Democratic strongholds. The move brought swift accusations of voter suppression from Democrats and voting rights groups, including the League of United Latin American Citizens, which filed a lawsuit.….

  • 2. VIRick  |  October 12, 2020 at 3:20 pm

    Lithuania: Parliamentary Elections, First Round

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    As opposition conservatives win big in the first round of parliamentary elections to the 141-member Seimas, a new liberal pro-LGBT party, Freedom Party, with marriage equality in its platform, received just over 9% of the vote and won at least 8 seats in parliament.

    On 11 October and on 25 October 2020, 71 will be elected in single-member constituencies using the two-round system, with run-offs between the top two candidates in each constituency on the latter date, while the remaining 70 have just been chosen in a multi-member nationwide constituency using proportional representation. The results indicate a victory for the opposition conservative Homeland Union over the Farmers and Greens Union:

    Homeland Union-Lithuanian Christian Democrats (TS-LKD) – 24.8% (23 seats)
    Farmers and Greens Union (LVŽS) – 17.5% (16 seats)
    Labour Party (DP) – 9.5% (9 seats)
    Social Democrats (LSDP) – 9.3% (8 seats)
    Freedom Party (LP) – 9.0% (8 seats)
    Liberal Movement (LRLS) – 6.8% (6 seats)
    Electoral Action of Poles (LLRA-KŠS) – 4.8% (no seats)
    Social Democratic Labour Party (LSDDP) – 3.2% (no seats)

    A party must cross the 5-percent threshold in order to win any seats in the multi-member constituency.

  • 3. VIRick  |  October 12, 2020 at 4:40 pm

    Malaysia: Bar Council Presents Reform Recommendations

    Per Salim Bashir, President, Malaysian Bar:

    The Malaysian Bar has persistently, during its annual or extraordinary general meetings in the past 30 years, passed resolutions advocating the abolition of the death penalty. We have always been, and remain, a vocal opponent of the mandatory death penalty, and have repeatedly called upon the government to abolish it.

    We also renew our recommendation for the establishment of a Law Reform Commission to review outdated laws and sentencing procedures to bring our country in line with international human rights standards.

    Under the auspices of the Malaysian Bar Council, the second recommendation would be an excellent means by which the country could eliminate outdated laws and those which violate international standards on human rights, like the continuing criminalization of same-sex sexual activity.

  • 4. ianbirmingham  |  October 12, 2020 at 6:38 pm

    Where Court Packing Is Already Happening: How Republicans packed the AZ Supreme Court, Thus Changing The Outcome Of A Gay Wedding Case

    The expansion scheme affected the outcome of at least one recent landmark case. A trial court ruled that when a calligraphy business had refused to make invitations for a gay wedding, it was violating Phoenix’s anti-discrimination ordinance, and an appeals court agreed. But the newly expanded state Supreme Court reversed the lower courts, writing a narrow opinion siding with the calligraphy business without giving business owners blanket protection to discriminate against gay couples. That 4-3 ruling would have come out differently without Ducey’s two additional justices, the Arizona Capitol Times found in an analysis of the decision.

  • 5. ianbirmingham  |  October 13, 2020 at 7:52 pm

    Barrett apologizes for calling sexual orientation a 'preference'

    Barrett made the remark earlier in the day before the Senate Judiciary Committee when asked by the panel about Obergefell v. Hodges, the landmark Supreme Court case that led to the legalization of same-sex marriage across the country. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) had asked Barrett, a conservative-leaning judge who clerked for Justice Antonin Scalia, if she shared the late Supreme Court justice's dissenting views on the case.

    Barrett responded by saying she had "no agenda" and that "I have never discriminated on the basis of sexual preference and would not discriminate on the basis of sexual preference.”

    The comment quickly caught the attention of Democrats and LGBTQ rights activists who denounced the term "sexual preference" as dated and implying sexuality was a choice. Hirono said the term was "offensive and outdated."

    Barrett largely evaded questions Tuesday on how she would rule on specific issues, as is the general practice in Supreme Court confirmation hearings. But her claim to have never discriminated against the LGBTQ community rang hollow after a New York Times profile revealed she had served on the board of an Indiana private school that barred admission to students of unmarried parents when same-sex marriage was not yet legalized in the state.

  • 6. VIRick  |  October 13, 2020 at 9:16 pm

    She said "sexual preference" twice in one sentence, thus revealing her true colors without even realizing that she had done so. She is not fit to serve as a judge on any court, least of all on the Supreme Court.

    I also do not see any actual apology in the text of that article, just the assertion of such in the title. Oh wait! I found her sanctimonious, ditzy rejoinder which apparently is supposed to pass as an "apology:"

    "I certainly didn't mean and would never mean to use a term that would cause any offense to the LGBTQ community," Barrett said.

    But she did and she said it twice in one sentence without even realizing just how offensive she was. Words matter. She meant to say exactly what she said. Plus, it is very difficult to believe that she has her head so far up her ass that, until now, she was completely unaware of what constitutes an offensive term.

  • 7. guitaristbl  |  October 14, 2020 at 11:39 am

    Let's stop pretending there is any other solution left than court packing now. 11 or even 13 justices as soon as the new Congress swears in. There is literally zero way out of this situation with this insane religious fanatic on the bench.

  • 8. ianbirmingham  |  October 14, 2020 at 1:36 pm

    Effort to bar LGBTQ discrimination moves ahead in Michigan

    A ballot drive has turned in more than 483,000 signatures for an initiative to prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ people in Michigan by amending the state’s civil rights law.

    If election officials determine roughly 340,000 are valid, the bill would be placed before the Republican-led Legislature, where similar legislation has long stalled. If lawmakers did not adopt the measure within 40 days, it would go to a statewide vote in November 2022.

    The proposal would revise the state’s 1976 Elliott-Larsen Civil Right Act to bar discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, housing and public accommodations. Religion-based discrimination, which already is barred, would be defined to include an individual’s “religious beliefs.”

  • 9. Fortguy  |  October 14, 2020 at 3:57 pm

    Texas social workers are criticizing a state regulatory board’s decision this week to remove protections for LGBTQ clients and clients with disabilities who seek social work services.

    The Texas State Board of Social Work Examiners voted unanimously Monday to change a section of its code of conduct that establishes when a social worker may refuse to serve someone. The code will no longer prohibit social workers from turning away clients on the basis of disability, sexual orientation or gender identity.

    Gov. Greg Abbott’s office recommended the change, board members said, because the code’s nondiscrimination protections went beyond protections laid out in the state law that governs how and when the state may discipline social workers.

    “It’s not surprising that a board would align its rules with statutes passed by the Legislature,” said Abbott spokesperson Renae Eze. A state law passed last year gave the governor’s office more control over rules governing state-licensed professions.

    The nondiscrimination policy change drew immediate criticism from a professional association. Will Francis, executive director of the Texas chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, called it “incredibly disheartening.”

    He also criticized board members for removing the nondiscrimination protections without input from the social workers they license and oversee.

    Edgar Walters, The Texas Tribune: New Texas rule lets social workers turn away clients who are LGBTQ or have a disability

  • 10. ianbirmingham  |  October 14, 2020 at 7:48 pm

    Lawyer Bernard Cohen who won the landmark Loving v. Virginia case that led to the Supreme Court's rejection of laws forbidding interracial marriage, dies from complications from Parkinson's disease aged 86

    Bernard Cohen and Hirschkop were ACLU volunteer attorneys only a few years out of law school when they took on the case. Mildred Loving was referred to the ACLU by then-Attorney General Robert Kennedy, to whom she had written seeking assistance.

    The biggest challenge, Cohen always said of the case, was not the Supreme Court argument, but getting the case back in state court so it could be appealed. After devising a strategy to do so, the judge who sentenced the Lovings roundly rejected the request to set aside the conviction, giving the lawyers a ruling that could be appealed.

    'Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, Malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents, and but for the interference with His arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages,' the judge wrote in upholding the sentence. 'The fact that He separated the races shows that He did not intend for the races to mix.'

    In 2015, Cohen told The Roanoke Times: 'The decision in Loving was broad enough to encompass the principle involved in the same-sex marriage case. Because the constitutional principle involved is the same, the right to marry is a constitutionally protected right of liberty. I think it’s that easy.'

    Bennett Cohen noted that on Monday, the day his dad died, vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris talked about the Loving case during the Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Amy Coney Barrett.

  • 11. VIRick  |  October 16, 2020 at 7:08 pm

    Baja California: Committee Approves Marriage Equality for Third Time

    Per La Jornada BC:

    Hoy, 16 de octubre 2020, aprueban, otra vez, dictamen a favor del matrimonio igualitario en BC; hubo cinco votos a favor, uno en contra, y uno ausencia en la Comisión de Gobernación, Legislación, y Puntos Constitucionales.

    Today, 16 October 2020, for the third time, the draft bill in favor of marriage equality was approved in Baja California; it had 5 votes in favor, one against, and one absence in the Government, Legislation, and Constitutional Points Committee.

    The measure now goes to the full congress for a third time for a vote next Friday, 23 October.

  • 12. VIRick  |  October 16, 2020 at 7:32 pm

    Chile: On 16 October 2020, Senate Committee Approves Most Marriage Equality Articles

    Per Movilh Chile:

    Avanzamos: Comisión de Constitución del Senado aprueba mayoría de los artículos de la Ley de Matrimonio.

    We advance: Senate Constitution Committee approves most articles of the Marriage Law.

    Per La Tercera:

    ¿Giro del gobierno? Piñera plantea a ministros revisar postura sobre matrimonio igualitario.

    Government turnaround? Piñera asks ministers to review their position on marriage equality.

  • 13. VIRick  |  October 16, 2020 at 8:03 pm

    Colombia: Cartagena Judge Ordered to Celebrate Equal Marriage

    Ordenan a Juez Cristiano Celebrar Matrimonio Igualitario en Cartagena

    Juzgado ordena celebrar el matrimonio que juez cristiano se había negado a realizar en Cartagena, por tratarse de una pareja del mismo sexo.

    El Juzgado Noveno Civil del Circuito de Cartagena derogó el día de ayer, el 15 de octubre 2020, la decisión del juez Ramiro Flórez Torres quien, el pasado mes de septiembre, se había negado a celebrar el matrimonio civil de Julieth del Carmen Ramos y Guaskary Alejandra Vásquez por su orientación sexual. De acuerdo a lo expresado por el el juez Ramiro Flórez, la unión entre personas del mismo sexo iba en contra de su moral como cristiano.

    The Court orders the celebration of the marriage that a christian judge had refused to carry out in Cartagena, due to its being that of a same-sex couple.

    Yesterday, 15 October 2020, the Ninth Civil Circuit Court of Cartagena repealed the decision of Judge Ramiro Flórez Torres who, last September, had refused to celebrate the civil marriage of Julieth del Carmen Ramos and Guaskary Alejandra Vásquez due to their sexual orientation. According to what was expressed by Judge Ramiro Flórez, the union between people of the same sex went against his morals as a Christian.

  • 14. arturo547  |  October 17, 2020 at 12:17 am

    Peru: Constitutional Court will finally decide on marriage equality on 3 November:

    * Today the court refused to discuss the issue publicly on a 4-3 vote, even though issues of public interest have recently been discussed publicly.
    * Three judges are conservative and three ones are liberal. There is a moderate judge (Manuel Miranda) and he voted along with the conservatives to reject the public discussion of the issue. Some people think this is a bad signal and that the reason for a private discussion is to hide their homophobic arguments. Others say that only actions of unconstitutionality and conflicts of competence can be discussed publicly, according to the court's regulatory statutes (reglamento) (Art. 43-A), and the Ugarteche case is neither of them but an amparo.
    * The draft ruling is in favour of overseas same sex marriage recognition.
    * We don't know exactly how judge Miranda will vote in the end. Previously he had voted in favour of transgender rights, but his recent vote against the public discussion of the case is worrying.

    Let's cross fingers.


  • 15. ianbirmingham  |  October 18, 2020 at 7:32 am

    New Zealand Now Has The Gayest Parliament In The World, Surpassing Former World Leader UK

    Saturday's election results show there will likely be 11 rainbow members in New Zealand's 120-seat Parliament, up from the previous seven. In the UK there are currently 45 openly gay members in the 650-member House of Commons, or 7 percent. New Zealand is now at 9.16 percent.

    In 2009, Parliament named one of its 11 select committee meeting rooms 'Rainbow Room', dedicated to gay, lesbian, and transgender New Zealanders.

  • 16. ianbirmingham  |  October 18, 2020 at 9:54 am

    Lindsey Graham runs for his life

    On one side, Sen. Lindsey Graham’s campaign signs feature the Judiciary Committee chair’s name emblazoned in large, bold font. On the other, a simple but critical hashtag: “Fill The Seat.”

    Graham is staking his campaign on a bet that Barrett’s expected confirmation — and his flip-flop that led to her even getting a hearing — will pull him over the finish line.

    Graham's opponent, former state Democratic Party Chair Jaime Harrison, shattered Beto O'Rourke's Senate campaign fundraising record with an astonishing $57 million haul in the third quarter of the year. It was largely fueled by Graham’s decision to move forward with Barrett's nomination so close to the election — a blatant reversal from his stated position just two years ago — in addition to his support for Trump.

    Trump’s sagging poll numbers are creating problems for Graham. Harrison’s campaign is blanketing the airwaves and the web with ads portraying the incumbent as untrustworthy and two-faced, pointing to his transformation into a Trump cheerleader.

    Harrison has made the race competitive not only because of the boatloads of money he's raised, but because his campaign has driven a massive voter turnout effort in every corner of the state — one that targets not only Democrats, but also disaffected Republicans.

    Harrison, a lawyer and former staffer in Clyburn’s House office, grew the most animated when he talked about Graham’s reversal over filling a Supreme Court seat in an election year. It was a betrayal, the Democrat said.

    “When you lie to your constituents,” Harrison said, “that is the greatest travesty that a public servant can ever do.”

  • 17. JayJonson  |  October 18, 2020 at 10:40 am

    I hope that Graham's constituents will reject him because of his lies, but I suspect that his lies (and his role in filling the SCOTUS seat) will probably help him and he will squeak by. Still, I have donated to Harrison and hope that he will make good use of the extraordinary amount of money he has raised (most of it, of course, from out of state, which is probably also true of the money Graham has raised).

  • 18. VIRick  |  October 19, 2020 at 4:50 pm

    Presidential Forecast Up-Date, 19 October 2020

    Since the earlier report on the 12-closest races for president, drawing ever-closer to election day, FiveThirtyEight has removed Michigan from contention, placing it firmly in Biden's camp. At the same time, they have added Alaska as a new possibility at being flipped. According to them, at present, these are the 12-closest states in the electoral college count yet to be firmly decided. The percentages are based upon the outcomes of 100 different possible scenarios:

    Alaska, Trump favored, Biden wins in 22% of samples
    Texas, Trump slightly favored, Biden wins in 32% of samples
    Iowa, Trump slightly favored, Biden wins in 43% of samples
    Ohio, toss-up, Biden wins in 49% of samples
    Georgia, toss-up, Biden wins in 51% of samples
    North Carolina, Biden slightly favored, Biden wins in 68% of samples
    Arizona, Biden slightly favored, Biden wins in 69% of samples
    Florida, Biden favored, Biden wins in 72 % of samples
    Pennsylvania, Biden favored, Biden wins in 87% of samples
    New Hampshire, Biden favored, Biden wins in 87% of samples
    Wisconsin, Biden favored, Biden wins in 88% of samples
    Nevada, Biden favored, Biden wins in 88% of samples

    Maine, Biden clearly favored, Biden wins in 90% of samples
    Michigan, Biden clearly favored, Biden wins in 92% of samples
    Minnesota, Biden clearly favored, Biden wins in 93% of samples
    Colorado, Biden clearly favored, Biden wins in 95% of samples

    As for their map, ABC/FiveThirtyEight shows Biden with 334 electoral votes, Trump at 163, and with the 41 electoral votes of Iowa, Ohio, Georgia, and Maine-2 as toss-ups.

Having technical problems? Visit our support page to report an issue!