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Open thread 10/20


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


  • 1. VIRick  |  October 20, 2020 at 2:04 pm

    Edoméx Bans Anti-LGBT "Conversion Therapy"

    Per Diversidad Sexual PRD:

    Hoy, 20 de octubre 2020, el congreso del Edoméx aprueba sancionar "terapias de conversión." Un gran avance, pero quedan pendientes como matrimonio igualitario.

    Today, 20 October 2020, the Edomex congress approves the ban on "conversion therapy." A great advance, but marriage equality remains pending.

    Per Gonzalo Kinich Fernández Bravo:

    En tribuna, Morena y PRD dijeron que ahora sí van a impulsar las iniciativas de matrimonio igualitario e identidad de género, las cuales llevan congeladas un año en el Congreso del Estado de México.

    Publicly, Morena and PRD said that they are now going to push the initiatives on marriage equality and gender identity, measures which have been frozen for a year in the Congress of the State of Mexico.

  • 2. VIRick  |  October 20, 2020 at 4:14 pm

    Chile: Marriage Equality Takes One More Small Step Forward

    Per "El Ciudadano:"

    El 19 de octubre 2020, la iniciativa cumple su primer trámite en la Cámara Alta y fue aprobada en general con 22 votos a favor, 16 en contra, y 1 abstención por la Sala del Senado, tras lo cual se abrió plazo para presentarle indicaciones.

    On 19 October 2020, the marriage equality initiative completed its first process in the Upper Chamber and was approved in general with 22 votes in favor, 16 against, and 1 abstention by the Full Senate Chamber, after which a period of time was opened to present additional proposals/amendments.

    Note: In Chile, the legislative process is quite complex. As was done here, a committee draft proposal is first approved "in general" by the full Senate, and is then opened to further amendments, additions, subtractions, and alterations, some of which can be negative and detrimental. In total, there were 25 such proposed changes made, mostly by the minority so that they could "grandstand" and sufficiently "air their mouths." Several proposed changes were even presented by an ex-senator, but the reason for his presence remains a mystery. Eventually, most of these extra proposals, if not all, will be voted down by the majority. Senadora Luz Ebensperger, probably the most vociferous opponent, has already been blocked from upending the entire process with her proposal. At the end of all of this "discussion" and posturing, the draft proposal will then be voted upon "in particular," at which point, it will finally be passed.

  • 3. VIRick  |  October 20, 2020 at 6:22 pm

    Marriage Equality in Perú: Chronology of the Fight for a Right Still Not Recognized

    Matrimonio Igualitario en Perú: Cronología de la Lucha por un Derecho que Aún No se Reconoce

    Per "La Republica," 19 October 2020:

    In this extended and very detailed accounting, from 1993 until the present date, "La Republica" presents a complete chronology of the long struggle for marriage equality in Perú. Relevant excerpts from the 1993 Political Constitution of Perú and from its Civil Code of 1984 have been quoted in full. Particularly, from the legislative point of view, measures recognizing some form of same-sex union were introduced in 1993 (recognition of all families, as part of the re-drafted constitution), 2003 (uniones de hecho), 2003 (civil unions), 2009 (patrimonio autónomo), 2010 (civil unions), 2011/12 (patrimonio autónomo), 2013 (civil unions), 2016 (civil unions), and again in 2017 (marriage equality). So far, nothing has been successfully passed.

    In 2011, Óscar Ugarteche y Fidel Aroche first solicited Reniec for the recognition of their legal marriage performed in Mexico. After being rejected, they sued, giving rise to the current case at hand before the Tribunal Constitucional. Susel Paredes and Gracia Aljovin did the same in 2016, seeking recognition of their US marriage from Miami. Subsequently, in 2020, two more same-sex couples have followed suit, seeking recognition of their legal marriages performed in Argentina and in Denmark, respectively. The latter cases all remain under appeal.

    Uniones de hecho = de facto unions.
    Patrimonio autónomo = a common partnership formed by any two people in order to enjoy shared benefits, a uniquely Peruvian concept proposed by Carlos Bruce.

  • 4. VIRick  |  October 20, 2020 at 8:01 pm

    Bolivia Election: Evo Morales's Left-Wing Party Celebrates Stunning Comeback

    Exit polls for the presidential election which occurred on 18 October 2020 project a win for Luis Arce, as his rival concedes defeat. The official results of Sunday’s twice-postponed election had yet to be announced on Monday afternoon, 19 October, but exit polls projected that Luis Arce, the candidate for Morales’s Movimiento al Socialismo (Mas), had secured more than 50% of the vote while his closest rival, the centrist former president Carlos Mesa, received about 30%. Even Morales’s nemesis, the right-wing interim president, Jeanine Áñez, conceded that the left had come out on top. Arce secured more than 65% of the vote in La Paz, 63% in Cochabamba, 62% in Oruro, and 51% in Potosí.

    Arce vowed to end the uncertainty that has plagued his bitterly divided nation since October 2019, when hotly disputed claims of vote rigging against his party resulted in mass street protests, the presidential election being scrapped, and Morales (illegally seeking his 4th term) being forced from the country by security forces in what his supporters called a racist, right-wing coup.

    “We will govern for all Bolivians … we will bring unity to our country,” said Arce, who should be sworn in as president in the first half of November.

    The left-wing Morales was quite homophobic, while the hyper right-wing, bible-waving Áñez was even worse. Under Arce, marriage equality should once again be back on track in Bolivia, particularly given the recent movement in both Perú and Chile. Under Morales, transgender rights fared much better than did gay rights. Under Áñez, despite her nut-job status, the courts saw an opportunity to move toward the recognition of same-sex unions.

  • 5. VIRick  |  October 20, 2020 at 9:46 pm

    Maryland: Transgender Woman Running for Congress

    Mia Mason (D) is vying to join Maryland’s delegation in the US House of Representatives in a bid that could make her the first transgender person ever elected to Congress. She is running against the hyper-anti-LGBT incumbent Republican Andy Harris in Maryland’s 1st Congressional District, a district which includes the Eastern Shore and portions of northern Baltimore, Carroll, and Harford Counties that leaned heavily to the right in 2016, with 60 percent of voters casting ballots for Trump. Despite this, Mason said she is hopeful she will pull out a victory on 3 November over the only GOP member of congress from Maryland.

    Born in Virginia, Mason joined the US Navy in 1998 and went on to have a military career involving one tour in Afghanistan and two in Iraq. In 2014, she said she was going through a routine medical screening when her superiors discovered she was trans by looking at her Veterans Affairs paperwork. She was discharged by November, she said, but soon after, President Obama announced that trans people could serve in the military.

    “I spent my entire Christmas break calling my attorneys to get back in,” she said in an interview with the "Washington Blade." It took her until 2016 to be fully accepted back into the military as a part of the DC National Guard. Then in 2017, Trump tweeted that he would not allow trans people to serve in the military, and Mason said she knew she needed to turn to advocacy and politics.

  • 6. Randolph_Finder  |  October 23, 2020 at 3:27 am

    I wish her luck, but MD-1 isn't even close to a swing district. And much as the Maryland Democrats have been willing to gerrymander, justifying splitting the Eastern Shore into two different congressional districts is too much even for them. the MD-1 will gain additional population on the Western Shore after the 2020 congressional district, but the only reasonable place to gain democrats is actually running the district into the City of Baltimore and that would actually put the congressman from MD-2 into the district…

  • 7. VIRick  |  October 21, 2020 at 5:13 pm

    Pope Francis' Precise Words on Same-Sex Unions, 21 October 2020

    Per José Silvera, Abogado de Paraguay:

    "Los homosexuales tienen derecho a estar en una familia. Son hijos de Dios y tienen derecho a una familia. Lo que tenemos que hacer es crear una ley de uniones civiles. Así están cubiertos legalmente. Yo apoyé eso.”
    Papa Francisco 21/10/2020

    "Homosexuals have the right to be in a family. They are children of God and they have the right to a family. What we have to do is to create a law of civil unions. Thus they are covered legally. I supported that."
    Pope Francis, 21/10/2020

    Since the Pope's pronouncement was made in Spanish, it is important to note precisely what he actually said, and what was left unsaid. Also, since Bergoglio (Pope Francis) is from Argentina, there is widespread, severe, sharp criticism from that country regarding his rather lukewarm, mealy-mouthed, belated pronouncement, given that Argentina has had full, complete, total marriage equality enshrined in national law since 2010. And at that time, while Bergoglio was still archbishop (arzobispo) of Buenos Aires, he vociferously opposed Argentina's marriage equality law, from beginning to end, at every stage of its passage. As a result, in Argentina, many are deeply suspicious of his pronouncement, viewing his vague proposal about a "civil union law" as a means of watering down their full, complete, equal rights. Rights activists in Mexico are effectively saying the same, given that the SCJN there has already ruled that "civil union" is simply not good enough, as it is not true equality.

    On the other hand, since José Silvera is a lawyer from Paraguay, a country where there are no LGBT rights or protections yet in place within their national law, we can view Bergoglio's pronouncement quite differently, seeing it as an impetus toward pushing some of the more recalcitrant defenders of "la familia tradicional" to abandon their useless animosity and opposition. At least that is the hope expressed in relation to the more hide-bound Latin nations, like Paraguay, Dominican Republic, and much of Central America, even Italy, where many people still listen to these papal pronouncements.

    Oh, and in reaction, too, one further notes that the true diehards are already stating that Bergoglio did not say what he actually said.

  • 8. ianbirmingham  |  October 21, 2020 at 6:38 pm

    A major development! It will be very interesting to see how the Eastern Orthodox Church responds…

    The Eastern Orthodox Church, officially the Orthodox Catholic Church, is the second-largest Christian church, with approximately 220 million baptised members. It operates as a communion of autocephalous churches, each governed by its bishops in local synods. Roughly half of Eastern Orthodox Christians live in Russia. The church has no central doctrinal or governmental authority analogous to the bishop of Rome, but the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople is recognised by all as primus inter pares ("first among equals") of the bishops. As one of the oldest surviving religious institutions in the world, the Eastern Orthodox Church has played a prominent role in the history and culture of Eastern and Southeastern Europe, the Caucasus, and the Near East.

  • 9. Randolph_Finder  |  October 22, 2020 at 12:33 am

    There appear to be at least two dozen countries in the same situation in Paraguay, and the Dominican Repubic (no recognition at all) across five Continents (for example): Guatemala, Peru, Poland, Equatorial Guinea and the Philippines

  • 10. JayJonson  |  October 22, 2020 at 8:47 am

    I wonder if the Pope's remarks may not also have been influenced by the current debate over a hate crimes and hate speech bill that is roiling Italy. Italy does have a weak civil unions law, but not a hate speech or hate crimes law to protect lgbt people. It seems that Italy's bishops have been rallying against the bill currently under consideration. More on the controversy:

  • 11. ianbirmingham  |  October 21, 2020 at 6:20 pm

    Former Congresswoman Katie Hill and Very Nearly Florida Governor Andrew Gillum (both Bisexual) discuss the US political climate regarding Bisexuality in the first episode of Katie Hill's new "Naked Politics" podcast

    This podcast is here to expose what’s wrong in politics today, undressing the issues, and how we can fix them.

    The premiere of the podcast on Oct. 20 — which features an interview with former Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum (D) — comes after a production studio said it was creating a show based on Hill's forthcoming memoir, "She Will Rise." Blumhouse Television announced earlier this month that Elizabeth Moss will play Hill in the streaming TV series.

    Hill's "Naked Politics" podcast is available on Spotify & Apple Podcasts, and via website.

    EoT readers are surely familiar with the way Andrew Gillum, who missed being elected as Florida's Governor by less than 1/2 of a percentage point, came out as bisexual after he was found in a hotel room with a gay escort, but for anyone needing a refresher, here's a link:

    Former Congresswoman Katie Hill was was elected in November 2018 and was the first openly bisexual member of Congress. She resigned as a result of photos being leaked to the press which documented her relationship with a young woman who worked for Hill, apparently leaked by her disgruntled husband from whom she is now divorced. For anyone unfamiliar, here are the links:

  • 12. VIRick  |  October 21, 2020 at 10:44 pm

    San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato: Another LGBTQ Travel Ad

    In English, per a new ad at the "Advocate," complete with a short video featuring some of that city's colorful, annual Indigenous pagentry:

    "Remember when LGBTQ travel was mysterious and captivating? Find that spark in one of Mexico's most alluring hidden cities.

    Promoted by San Miguel, Guanajuato, Grandeza de Mexico"

    Still, the only difficulty in this continuing ad campaign encouraging LGBTQ travel lies in the fact that Guanajuato, the state in which San Miguel de Allende is located, still does not allow for the performance of same-sex marriages, nor does it recognize the rights of transgender individuals to gender identity.

  • 13. VIRick  |  October 21, 2020 at 11:34 pm

    US Territories Fight for Equal Voting Rights

    In a heated election season that will leave millions of Americans who are residents of US territories on the sidelines because they do not have the right to vote for president, two St. Thomas attorneys have joined a lawsuit seeking to redress that wrong. Ravi Nagi, co-founder of the BoltNagi law firm, and Laura Castillo Nagi, who practices family law, are named along with four plaintiffs from Guam in a lawsuit filed on 8 October 2020 in US District Court in Hawaii, where they all once lived.

    The six plaintiffs are joined in the suit by Equally American, a non-partisan civil rights group founded by Neil Weare that advocates for equality and voting rights for the nearly four million Americans living in US territories. Weare and Nagi both grew up on Guam. They are now united in a bid to overturn 120 years of disenfranchisement.

    The Insular Cases from the early 1900s, as they became known, held that the US Constitution did not apply in full to unincorporated territories, including Guam and Puerto Rico at the time, and later, the US Virgin Islands. The language in the rulings was blatantly racist, referring to the islands as “inhabited by alien races." Yet the Insular Cases stand to this day, which is why Nagi and Castillo Nagi lost their right to vote for president when they moved to St. Thomas from Hawaii in 2005. The instant lawsuit contends that these Insular Cases rulings are a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, and the equal protection component of the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.

    Had the plaintiffs moved anywhere other than to a US territory, even the British Virgin Islands just a 20-minute boat ride away, they would be able to vote in Hawaii by absentee ballot in the upcoming presidential election.

    Full disclosure: I have had previous business dealings with the Bolt Law Firm. I am also not impartial to the outcome of this federal lawsuit, and am elated that several plaintiffs have been able to link the US Virgin Islands to Guam via Hawaii over this matter of federal voting rights.

  • 14. ianbirmingham  |  October 22, 2020 at 3:21 pm

    Florida Democratic Party launches Drag Queen videos to encourage Florida Democrats to vote

    Some of the country’s best-known drag queens are putting on the glam to encourage Florida Democrats to vote. The Florida Democratic Party announced it is launching a series of videos on social media called “Drag Yourself To the Polls,” mixing humor, drag and get-out-the-vote and Democratic messaging. Brita Filter is baking a cake while warning about people who are “trying to take away our rights.” There’s Willam Belli urging people to “vote blue and, most importantly, wear a mask, as long as you don’t have a ton of makeup on like me right now.” There’s LaGanja Estranja, vamping and switching from red lipstick to blue while urging people to “elect the leaders who will make positive changes in your community.”

  • 15. VIRick  |  October 22, 2020 at 5:37 pm

    Northern Ireland: New Law to Convert LGBT Civil Partnerships to Marriage

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) said the new law allowing the conversion of civil partnerships to marriage will come into force on 7 December 2020 and will provide a three-year window for converting an existing civil partnership into a marriage. Fees will be waived during the first year, the government said.

    Opposite-sex couples will also be able to convert an existing marriage into a civil partnership. In either instance, all converted relationships would be "backdated" so that they would be treated as having existed from the date the original relationship had been formed.

  • 16. VIRick  |  October 22, 2020 at 6:14 pm

    Chile: Fifth Anniversary of Civil Unions (AUC)

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Más de 35 mil parejas han celebrado Acuerdos de Unión Civil (AUC) a 5 años de promulgación de la ley el 22 de octubre 2015. De acuerdo al Director Nacional del Servicio de Registro Civil e Identificación, Sergio Mierzejewski, el 79% (o 27.921) corresponde a parejas heterosexuales, mientras que el 21% (o 7422) corresponde a parejas del mismo sexo.

    En total se han celebrado 35.343 uniones de este tipo; el 10% (o 3534) corresponde a parejas compuestas por mujeres y el 11% (o 3888) a parejas de hombres. La mayor cantidad de AUC se han realizado en la Región Metropolitana (de Santiago) donde se han inscrito más de 14 mil 660 (o 41,5%).

    More than 35 thousand couples have entered into Civil Union Accords (AUC) within 5 years of the enactment of the law on 22 October 2015. According to the National Director of the Civil Registry and Identification Service, Sergio Mierzejewski, 79% (or 27,921) correspond to heterosexual couples, while 21% (or 7,422) correspond to same-sex couples.

    In total, 35,343 unions of this type have been celebrated; 10% (or 3,534) correspond to female couples and 11% (or 3,888) to male couples. The largest number of AUCs have occurred in the (Santiago) Metropolitan Region where more than 14,660 (or 41.5%) have been registered.

  • 17. VIRick  |  October 22, 2020 at 7:13 pm

    Venezuela, Maduro, and the Pope's Statement on LGBT Civil Unions

    Per Gabriela González, Venezuelan journalist, correspondent with Radio Colombia:

    Maduro asegura que “la nueva Asamblea Nacional (AN)” aprobará el matrimonio igualitario, refiriéndose a las declaraciones del Papa …

    Durante todos los años que tuvieron el control de la AN, nunca abordaron el tema.

    Maduro assures that "the new National Assembly (AN)" will approve marriage equality, referring back to the papal statements …

    During all the years that they had control of the AN, they never broached the subject.

    Per Rodrigo Alcántara, gay Venezuelan journalist:

    Declaraciones de Nicolás Maduro sobre matrimonio igualitario y la futura AN: todo esto hilado con declaración del Papa Francisco.

    Statements by Nicolás Maduro on marriage equality and the future AN: all this spun from a statement of Pope Francis.

    Per Kyara Madrid Lugo, Venezuelan transgender activist:

    Mas de 20 años escuchando el mismo cuento de estos hipócritas comunistas, buscando voto de la comunidad LGBT? Solo los cortos de mente inmorales apoyarán el fraude electoral. Habrá matrimonio igualitario cuando halla un gobierno legítimo sin rojitos delincuentes en el poder.

    More than 20 years listening to the same story from these hypocritical communists, seeking a vote from the LGBT community? Only the short-minded immoral will support the voter fraud. There will be marriage equality when there is a legitimate government without smallish red criminals in power.

  • 18. VIRick  |  October 23, 2020 at 7:56 pm

    Chignahuapan, Puebla: First Same-Sex Marriage Celebrated

    Per Rubén Hernández Hernández:

    El 23 de octubre 2020, autoridades realizan primer matrimonio igualitario en Chignahuapan. El Congreso de Puebla aún lleva el tema a la legislación, pese a solicitud del SCJN.

    On 23 October 2020, authorities performed the first equal marriage in Chignahuapan. The Puebla Congress still takes issue to the legislation, despite the request from the SCJN.

    Chignahuapan is a municipality in the northern finger of Puebla state, and is known for its thermal waters. Said municipality directly abuts Hidalgo state to its west and Tlaxcala state to its south.

    Despite all the posturing in the Puebla congress, and their refusal to amend state law to comply with the Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage in Puebla state, from this instance in Chignahuapan, it is obvious that marriage equality, per said Supreme Court ruling, is still being followed, at least within certain municipalities in Puebla state.

    In Mexico, municipalities are autonomous. As a result, they are not under any obligation to follow state law when said state law is in conflict with federal law, or in this instance, with the jurisprudence of a federal Supreme Court ruling.

  • 19. ianbirmingham  |  October 23, 2020 at 8:56 pm

    Austin Quinn-Davidson will be the first woman and openly gay person to serve as mayor or acting mayor of Anchorage, Alaska

    "To me, this is less about whether I'm a woman or whether I have a wife or a husband and more about solving the problems in Anchorage," she said.

  • 20. VIRick  |  October 24, 2020 at 7:18 pm

    Estonia: Marriage Equality Petition to Be Presented and Debated in Parliament

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Greens' Same-Sex Marriage Petition to be Presented to Riigikogu

    A petition by the non-parliamentary Estonian Greens party calling for the Family Act to be amended to allow for same-sex marriages has been signed by 14,500 people and will be debated in the Riigikogu. The petition was created on 19 October, can be signed until 24 December, and will then be handed to the speaker of the Riigikogu, Henn Põlluaas (EKRE). Once the appeal has been handed over, the parliament checks whether it complies with the law. After that, the Board of the Riigikogu appoints a steering committee, which will discuss the petition.

    Züleyxa Izmailova, the party's second leader, said: "Our aim, by amending the law, is to put an end to the discrimination against people, one which may be our last chance to defend same-sex couples with the Family Act." She pointed out that according to Chancellor of Justice Ülle Madise, it may no longer be possible for the Riigikogu, after the referendum on the definition of marriage in the spring of 2021, to amend the Family Act without a new referendum.

    At present, Section 1 of the Family Act says that a marriage is contracted between a man and a woman. The Estonian Greens say they support marriage between two adult people, regardless of their gender. Next year, a referendum is due to be held on the concept of marriage which will ask voters if they want to change the Constitution to add a definition stating that marriage can only be between one man and one woman.

  • 21. VIRick  |  October 25, 2020 at 7:44 pm

    Chile: Voters Approve Writing a New Constitution; The Dictator Is Finally Dead

    Per Reuters Latam:

    El 25 de octubre 2020, Chilenos aprueban por amplia mayoría cambiar la Constitución de Pinochet (de 1980). Cerca del 80% de los votantes chilenos aprobaron avanzar en la redacción de una nueva Constitución a través de una asamblea elegida exclusivamente para ese propósito.

    On 25 October 2020, by an ample majority, Chileans approve changing the (1980) Constitution of Pinochet. About 80% of Chilean voters approved to advance in the drafting of a new Constitution through an assembly elected exclusively for that purpose.

    Per "The Times En Español (de Chile):"

    Masiva celebración del pueblo chileno, que deja atrás la Constitución de Pinochet. Miles de manifestantes se reúnen en Plaza la Dignidad para celebrar el triunfo del Apruebo. Un resultado preliminar: Apruebo 80,82% y Rechazo 19,18%. Se subió al Carro: Presidente Piñera festeja triunfo del Apruebo, acompañado de sus ministros del Rechazo.

    Massive celebration of the Chilean people, leaving behind the Pinochet Constitution. Thousands of protesters gather in Plaza la Dignidad to celebrate the triumph of the Approval. A preliminary result: Approve 80.82% and Reject 19.18%. He boarded the Bus: President Piñera celebrates the triumph of the Approval, accompanied by his ministers of the Rejection.

    This is an extraordinary win, as Chileans voted overwhelmingly to trash the old Constitution of Chile, a left-over from the military dictatorship of Pinochet. From here on, the legislative process to approve marriage equality should now move rather quickly. Remember, in Chile, everyone must first "board the bus" (cada uno se subió al carro) and be in pre-agreement before any legislation has a serious chance of passage. In truth, today's plebiscite vote on a new Constitution was a massive defeat for Presidente Piñera, but he gritted his teeth and grinned and accepted the defeat, while simultaneously throwing his own ministers under the same bus (Echó a sus propios ministros bajo el mismo carro).

    Per Daniel Berezowsky:

    No estaría de más que en la nueva Constitución quedará establecido el matrimonio igualitario, compromiso que Chile adquirió con la CIDH y que sigue sin cumplir.

    It would not hurt if the new Constitution would establish marriage equality, a commitment that Chile acquired with the IACHR, and one that continues to be unfulfilled.

    In other words, marriage equality could be guaranteed in the final draft of the new constitution, if not passed sooner by the current legislature, as Piñera "boarding the bus" will have gone a long way toward easing much of the tension over this issue.

  • 22. VIRick  |  October 25, 2020 at 9:12 pm

    The Sunday Evening Senate Vote on the Nomination of the Handmaiden

    Per Craig Caplan:

    On 25 October 2020, in a 51-48 vote, the Senate, mostly along party lines, voted to end the filibuster (invoke cloture) on the Amy Coney Barrett Supreme Court nomination and limited debate to 30 hours prior to a final vote. GOP Senators Collins (ME) and Murkowski (AK) joined the Democrats in voting "No." Harris who is campaigning today in MI did not vote (but is opposed to the nomination).

    Two more Republican Senators needed to have defected, but did not.

  • 23. VIRick  |  October 26, 2020 at 6:24 pm

    This evening, 26 October 2020, the final Senate vote to confirm the Handmaiden was 52-48, as Murkowski switched sides and Harris was present to vote "No." Collins was the sole Republican to remain steadfast in voting "No," as of course, was every last Democrat.

  • 24. VIRick  |  October 25, 2020 at 9:47 pm

    Texas: The Latest Presidential Polls

    The two most-recent presidential polls in Texas are heart-stopping. The "Dallas Morning News" poll, taken between 13-20 October, shows Biden ahead by 3%, 48-45%, while the Quinnipiac poll, taken between 16-19 October, shows the two candidates in a dead-heat tie, 47-47%.

    The Real Clear Politics average of all recent polls of Texas still shows Biden down by 2.6%, 46.0-48.6%, but this is a much improved average over the recent figures showing him to be down by 4.0-4.4%.

    At the same time, the same two polls, but for Texas Senator, shows Cornyn (R) still leading over his challenger, Hegar (D), by 8%, 42-34%, and by 6%, 49-43%, respectively.

  • 25. ianbirmingham  |  October 26, 2020 at 3:50 pm

    Clarence Thomas set to swear in Barrett at White House

    “Justice Clarence Thomas will administer the official Constitutional Oath to Judge Amy Coney Barrett at the White House tonight,” a senior White House official said.

  • 26. ianbirmingham  |  October 26, 2020 at 3:51 pm

    Clarence Thomas, who took the seat formerly occupied by the late great Thurgood Marshall, is now handing Ginsburg's seat to Barrett. This is certainly a horrific day which will live in infamy.

    Everyone reading this should personally transport at least 10 likely Democratic voters to the polls each and every day, up to and including November 3rd.

  • 27. Elihu_Bystander  |  October 27, 2020 at 4:51 am

    A very sad day indeed. Knowing what was inevitable, I refused to watch the news yesterday.

  • 28. ianbirmingham  |  October 26, 2020 at 3:56 pm

    The number of seats on the Supreme Court has historically fluctuated

    The Judiciary Act of 1789 (1 Stat. 73) set the number of Supreme Court justices at six: one chief justice and five associate justices. One of the associate justice seats established in 1789 (seat 5 below) was later abolished, as a result of the Judicial Circuits Act of 1866 (14 Stat. 209), which provided for the gradual elimination of seats on the Supreme Court until there would be seven justices.

    In 1807, Congress passed the Seventh Circuit Act (2 Stat. 420), which added a sixth associate justice to the Supreme Court. Two more seats were added in 1837, as a result of the Eighth and Ninth Circuits Act (5 Stat. 176); one of these (seat 7) was later abolished as a result of the Judicial Circuits Act of 1866. The Supreme Court reached its peak size in 1863, when the Tenth Circuit Act (12 Stat. 794) became law, and a tenth justice joined the Court.

    After fluctuating from nine to ten to eight members over a six-year period, the size of the Court was restored to nine members through the Circuit Judges Act of 1869 (16 Stat. 44), a broad Reconstruction Era reorganization of the federal courts. This act remains (as of the 115th Congress) the governing law regarding the number of seats on the Court.

  • 29. VIRick  |  October 26, 2020 at 6:18 pm

    Latvian President: Do Not Listen to Populists on COVID-19

    On Sunday, 25 October 2020, Latvian President Egils Levits took the unusual step of releasing a public address urging the public to do the right thing to help put the brakes on an increasingly serious epidemiological situation in the country, the English-language arm of public broadcaster LSM reports. In particular, President Levits appealed to rationality and called for the rejection of medically-unsound populism, which he says threatens to accelerate the spread of COVID-19 and increase the number of cases and deaths.

    "Several European countries have already acknowledged that the spread of the pandemic has gone out of control; therefore, we presently have no room for chaotic actions or overconfidence," he said, adding that actions must be rational. However, without directly criticizing government actions thus far, Levits also made it clear he expects a plan for the future: "Based on expert advice, not only on what to do today, but also what safety measures will be expected if the pandemic develops in one direction or another. Second, I expect an accurate conversation with the public. We need to know not only what we can and cannot do, but also why specific measures are necessary and proportionate and why others that seem logical are not necessary," Levits urged,

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