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11/23 open thread


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


  • 1. VIRick  |  November 23, 2020 at 3:47 pm

    Michigan: State Board of Canvassers Votes to Certify Biden Win

    On Monday, 23 November 2020, the Michigan State Board of Canvassers voted 3-0-1 to certify the state's election results, formally granting President-elect Joe Biden the state's 16 electoral votes. The certification all but erases Trump's pathway to try to overturn the election results through legal challenges that have been dismissed in key states.

    One of the two Republican members of the Michigan state canvassing board, Aaron Van Langevelde, joined the two Democrats to vote to certify the election results, after it was unclear how he would vote prior to the meeting. At Monday's meeting, Van Langevelde signaled that he believed he was required to certify the vote under state law, regardless of whether he believed there should be an audit of Wayne County's election results. He said he supported an audit, but that did not mean the board should wait to certify the election first. The other Republican on the board, Norman Shinkle, abstained.

    As the Michigan board debated Monday, Pennsylvania's Supreme Court rejected the Trump campaign's effort to block the counting of certain absentee ballots — clearing the way for votes to be certified in multiple counties, including Philadelphia.….

    Georgia completed its certification process of its election results on Friday, 20 November 2020.

    Pennsylvania Supreme Court: Trump Campaign Loses 5 More Cases

    On 23 November 2020, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued opinions rejecting five lawsuits filed by the Trump campaign aimed at invalidating 8,329 ballots cast in the 2020 presidential contest over technical concerns. Three justices wrote in the majority that, "no allegations of fraud or illegality" came up in examination of the ballots.

    "Failures to include a handwritten name, address, or date in the voter declaration on the back of the outer envelope, while constituting technical violations of the Election Code, do not warrant the wholesale disenfranchisement of thousands of Pennsylvania voters," Justice Christine L. Donohue wrote for the majority.

    The justices also reversed a lower court order invalidating more than 2,300 ballots in Allegheny County that were lacking a date or signature on the outside of the envelope. Up to this point, that case was one of Trump's only post-election wins.

    GSA Tells Biden that Transition Can Formally Begin

    The General Services Administration has informed President-elect Joe Biden that the Trump administration is ready to begin the formal transition process, according to a letter from Administrator Emily Murphy sent late Monday afternoon, 23 November 2020, over 16 days after Biden's win had become obvious to most of the rest of the world.….

    Count-down: 57 days

  • 2. ianbirmingham  |  November 23, 2020 at 9:20 pm

    Israel’s Gantz announces major step for LGBTQ rights

    Israel’s gay community recorded one of the greatest achievements of its long struggle for equal rights on Nov. 19 when Defense Minister and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz instructed that all official forms issued by his ministry replace the “mother” and “father” categories with the designations “parent 1” and “parent 2." Gantz presented the move as a “symbolic and important step on our part — the part of 'the State' to recognize the requests of families and their ways of life.”

    Gantz also instructed other ministers of his Blue and White party to integrate the change in the agencies and offices under their purview, as Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn has already done. The change does not require special legislation since it is a ministerial directive, and it can be implemented immediately.

    Given the widespread impact of military service on every facet of Israeli life, this supposedly minor bureaucratic amendment is in fact a powerful agent of social and educational change. … the importance of this step cannot be overstated and work is underway at the Ministry of Defense with plans to issue the revised forms by the end of this year.

    On its official Facebook page, The Association for LGBTQ Equality in Israel hailed the move and noted that it occurred on the 45th anniversary of the group’s founding. It started out as a clandestine group meeting in a small Tel Aviv apartment at a time when the IDF refused to even draft gays — less than half a century later, that same military institution has assumed a key role in the gay revolution.

    Following Gantz’s announcement, several local leaders have also announced plans to adopt the changes in municipal forms, among them the mayor of the small northern town of Kiryat Bialik, Eli Dukorsky, who joined Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai in ordering the forms' revisions. The LGBTQ association reports that additional local councils and municipalities are considering such changes, among them Even Yehuda, Herzliya and the Southern Sharon Regional Council. … the suburban Tel Aviv town of Ramat Gan last week adopted a decision to allow the registration of same-sex couples in municipal institutions. This will allow any couple living in the town, gay or not, to register and be recognized as a married couple for all intents and purposes in the eyes of local authorities. Ramat Gan is the second municipality to adopt this historic change after Tel Aviv.

  • 3. VIRick  |  November 24, 2020 at 10:46 am

    Pennsylvania, Nevada Certify Election Results

    On Tuesday, 24 November 2020, Pennsylvania and Nevada certified their 2020 general election results, formally awarding electoral votes from two key battleground states to President-elect Joe Biden. CNN had already projected Biden as the winner in both Pennsylvania, where he was leading by more than 81,000 votes, and in Nevada, where Biden won by more than 33,000 votes, according to the two Secretary of State's offices.

    "Today, the Pennsylvania State Dept. certified the results of the 3 November election in Pennsylvania for President and Vice-President of the United States. As required by federal law, I've signed the Certificate of Ascertainment for the slate of electors for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris," Gov. Tom Wolf wrote.

    Appearing before the Nevada Supreme Court on Tuesday morning, 24 November, Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske officially certified Nevada's 2020 general election results. Cegavske, a Republican, did not verbally acknowledge Biden the winner of the presidential race. The Nevada Supreme Court signed the canvassing for each county prior to official certification of the results.

    With 4 of the 6 contested states now certified, Biden has at least 285 Electoral College votes. And Arizona's election results can not be legally contested because, according to state law, an automatic recount is only generated if the losing candidate's vote count is within 0.10% of the winning candidate's count. Trump lost in Arizona by 0.30%. Again, by state law, no other type of recount is allowed. Maricopa County, with 60% of the state's voters, as well as most other Arizona counties have already certified their election results at the county level. Arizona's Electoral College votes give Biden 296 votes. So that leaves Trump to ponder the useless partial recount of votes in Dane and Milwaukee Counties in Wisconsin, one for which he paid $3 million dollars, up front, in hard cash, but one which can not mathematically change the overall results of the presidential election.

    Count-down: 56 days

  • 4. VIRick  |  November 24, 2020 at 1:49 pm

    Argentina: All Public Service Positions; Minimum 1% Quota for Transgender Individuals

    While the US still bans transgender individuals from serving in the military, a new employment quota for Argentina’s army will soon require that that service’s personnel be at least 1% transgender. A decree signed by President Alberto Fernández in September 2020 required “a proportion of not less than 1% of the total number” of public sector jobs be set aside for transgender individuals “who meet the conditions of suitability.”

    A memo has been sent to officers in the Ejército Argentino (EA, the Argentine Army) asking them to report on the number of transgender people already employed in their units and informing them that they, too, will be required to meet the quota.The Ministry of Defense said that this is the first official message on the subject, even though it has already been discussed for some time. Both civilian and military personnel can be counted together to satisfy the decree.

    Uruguay has already implemented the same 1% minimum quota for transgender individuals in all public sector positions throughout the country. Now, Argentina is following suit, while most of the remainder of Latin America looks on in astonishment.

  • 5. VIRick  |  November 24, 2020 at 2:56 pm

    Australia: Victoria State to Ban Anti-LGBT "Conversion Therapy"

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    The Government of Victoria says that legislation being introduced on Wednesday, 24 November 2020, sends a clear message that no one is "broken" because of their sexuality or gender identity. The Victorian government will introduce legislation to outlaw anti-LGBT "conversion therapy" which seeks to change someone’s sexuality or gender identity, with fines of close to $10,000 or up to 10 years in jail.

    The Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill 2020, to be introduced on Wednesday, will empower the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission to investigate reports of conversion therapy practices. Practitioners of conversion therapy seeking to change someone’s sexuality or gender identity and found to have caused serious injury could face up to 10 years’ jail under the criminal sanctions proposed in the legislation. Those who try to avoid the law in Victoria by sending people to out-of-state "conversion therapy" would also face criminal sanctions and fines to a maximum of close to $10,000.

    The Victorian legislation goes further than that of the Queensland bill which passed in August 2020, as it covers anyone who attempts to convert someone else. The Queensland legislation was criticized by survivors for its being limited to health providers and for not including informal "conversion therapy" outside of healthcare settings.

  • 6. VIRick  |  November 24, 2020 at 5:06 pm

    Sonora: Amparo Filed against State Congress for Legislative Omission on Marriage Equality

    Per Dinorah Vega Orozco y María Luisa Alatorre Castañeda:

    Hoy, el 23 de noviembre 2020, interpusimos un recurso de amparo (orden de protección general) por la omisión legislativa de regular el matrimonio igualitario en Sonora en compañía de los abogados Jessica Estefanía Román, Jesús Manuel Herrera O., Omar G Herrejón, y Moisés Barraza, Primera Sec. de Diversidad Sexual de Morena en Hermosillo.

    Con la finalidad de obligar al Congreso de Sonora y a la Gobernadora Claudia Pavlovic a regular el matrimonio igualitario, el amparo se pondrá a disposición gratuita para que más personas se sumen. Todos los derechos para todas las personas.

    Today, 23 November 2020, we filed an appeal for an amparo (blanket protection order) against the legislative omission to regulate marriage equality in Sonora in the company of lawyers Jessica Estefanía Román, Jesús Manuel Herrera O., Omar G Herrejón, and Moisés Barraza, First Sec. of Sexual Diversity for Morena in Hermosillo .

    In order to force the Congress of Sonora and Governor Claudia Pavlovic to regulate marriage equality, the amparo will be made available free of charge in order for more people to join. All rights for all people.

    The filing of this amparo suit in Sonora seeking a blanket protection order follows similar moves which have already occurred in Sinaloa, Querétaro, and Guerrero, with another likely to be filed in Guanajuato.

  • 7. ianbirmingham  |  November 24, 2020 at 9:01 pm

    Poll: Majority of Republicans would support Trump in 2024

    Trump gets 53 percent of support among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents for a hypothetical 2024 Republican primary, according to the poll of registered voters. Pence came in second at only 12 percent support. Donald Trump Jr. got the third-highest support at 8 percent, while other Republican figures, including Sens. Tom Cotton, Ted Cruz and Mitt Romney, and Nikki Haley each got less than 5 percent support.

  • 8. VIRick  |  November 25, 2020 at 9:44 am

    Minnesota Certifies Election Results

    Late Tuesday, 24 November 2020, the Minnesota State Canvassing Board unanimously certified the election results, with tallies showing Biden ahead of Trump by more than 7 percentage points. The certification process has historically been routine but has come under intense scrutiny as Trump contests election results across the country.

    Minnesota was not subjected to the avalanche of lawsuits that were filed in places like Michigan and Georgia, though a last-minute complaint was filed by a group of Republican lawmakers, candidates, and voters who said certification should be halted based on unfounded claims of voter irregularities. The certification officially grants Biden Minnesota's 10 Electoral College votes, which Trump's camp had boasted ahead of the election were up for grabs given the president's near-miss there in 2016.

    "The State Canvassing Board has today certified Minnesota's 2020 General Election results," Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon said in a statement. "I'm proud to officially announce that for the third election in a row, Minnesota voters were number one in the nation in voter turnout." Nearly 3.3 million voters turned out in Minnesota this year, with more than 1.9 million of them casting absentee ballots. That figure marked Minnesota's highest voter turnout in more than 50 years.

  • 9. VIRick  |  November 25, 2020 at 10:21 am

    Biden-Harris Top 80,000,000 Million Votes

    As of Tuesday, 24 November 2020, President-elect Joe Biden and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris have secured more than 80 million votes as absentee ballots continued to be counted, making them the first presidential ticket in US history to achieve this milestone. The Cook Political Report indicated that Biden and Harris had gained roughly 51 percent of the popular vote with 80,033,996 ballots, while Trump and Pence held about 47.1 percent with 73,878,907. Most of the remaining 1.9% of the popular vote went to the Libertarian candidate.

    The news comes amid record voter turnout in the 2020 election, prior to which no presidential ticket had received more than 69.4 million votes, the record held by former President Obama during the 2008 presidential election. Cook Political Report’s Dave Wasserman announced the news on Twitter based on absentee ballots finally being counted and reported by the Erie County NY (Buffalo) Board of Elections.

    Although many states have finalized their vote tallies and certified the results, New York and California continue to plod on. Four congressional seats remain undecided: IA-2, NY-22, CA-21, and CA-25.

  • 10. VIRick  |  November 25, 2020 at 2:34 pm

    Andorra: Government Presents Marriage Equality Bill in Parliament

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Yesterday, 24 November 2020, the Andorra government finally presented its long-awaited marriage equality bill to Parliament, one which was first announced back in March 2020.

    The important clause in the new Andorra Family Law bill, Proposició de Llei Qualificada de la Persona i de la Família, translated from Catalan, states: "The marriage, celebrated in the form of a civil marriage, will have the same requirements and effects when both parties are people of the same or different sex."

    If passed, the new Andorra Family Law will take effect from June 2021.

  • 11. VIRick  |  November 25, 2020 at 2:50 pm

    Bhutan: Decriminalization of Same-Sex Sexual Activity Moves Forward

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    On 18 November 2020, the Joint Committee of the National Assembly and the National Council has recommended going forward with the repeal of the law criminalizing "unnatural sex" (that is, same-sex sexual activity); said decision now needs to be ratified by both Houses.

    On Thursday, 10 December 2020, in a joint session, the National Assembly and National Council will next debate the Penal Code Amendments, as already agreed upon in joint committee.

  • 12. ianbirmingham  |  November 25, 2020 at 5:25 pm

    Germany: Angela Merkel agrees to compensate gay soldiers over discrimination

    The approval from Chancellor Angela Merkel's Cabinet came two months after Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer issued an official apology for decades of discrimination and published a study documenting "systematic discrimination" in the Bundeswehr from 1955 to 2000.

    The legislation will lift military court verdicts imposed for consensual gay sex with a symbolic sum of €3,000 ($3,590) in compensation being paid for each of those verdicts.

    Those who were dismissed, passed over for promotion or stripped of responsibility will also be eligible for compensation.

    The defense ministry estimates that around 1,000 people will apply.

    Defense Minister Kramp-Karrenbauer said the legislation will also cover people who experienced discrimination in the communist East Germany's National People's Army, which ceased to exist in 1990.

    Homosexuality was illegal in Germany until the 1960s and gay servicemen and women in the armed forces could legally be discriminated against on the grounds of their sexuality until 2000.

  • 13. VIRick  |  November 25, 2020 at 10:51 pm

    1st Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Juan R. Torruella Passes

    The United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit mourns the passing of Judge Juan R. Torruella and expresses deepest sympathy to his family, especially his wife, Judith, to whom he had been married for 65 years, and their four children. Judge Torruella died on Monday, 26 October 2020, at the age of 87. Judge Torruella celebrated his 36th year on the First Circuit Court of Appeals on 4 October 2020. He never retired.

    Judge Torruella was appointed to the First Circuit Court of Appeals in October 1984 and served as Chief Judge from 1994 to 2001. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1954 and his law degree from Boston University School of Law in 1957. Judge Torruella also earned his LL.M from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1984 and his M.P.A. from the University of Puerto Rico School of Public Administration in 1984. He worked in private practice from 1959 to 1974. Judge Torruella was appointed to the US District Court for the District of Puerto Rico in 1974, where he served as Chief Judge from 1982 to 1984, when he was elevated to the First Circuit Court of Appeals.

    A group of legal scholars recently gathered in cyberspace to honor the contributions of the late Appeals Court Judge Juan Torruella, best known for his writings about the Insular Cases. The Insular Cases are a set of laws (actually a series of blatantly racist, colonially myopic court rulings enacted during the height of the era known as the "White Man's Burden") adopted in 1901 (and shortly thereafter) that govern some (actually, all) US territories. As a native son of one territory, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Torruella wrote essays critical of the impact those laws (court rulings) have on the rights of the four to five million US citizens living in those territories.

    When his death was announced on US network news, Torruella was described as, “known for his seminal writings on Puerto Rico’s territorial status, which he said was colonial, but deemed legal by the US Supreme Court.” One of his most notable writings is titled “The Insular Cases: The Establishment of Political Apartheid.”

    It should be further noted that it was Judge Torruella who ensured that the 2015 "Obergefell" marriage equality ruling was effectively extended to include Puerto Rico.

    Hopefully, Judge Torruella hung on just long enough that it is no longer feasible for the Orange Menace, already distracted by other events cascading around him, to even be aware of this sudden vacancy on the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals, the circuit based in Boston that includes Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Puerto Rico.

    Count-down: 55 days

  • 14. Elihu_Bystander  |  November 26, 2020 at 6:14 am

    Don't forget that the present continuing resolution for spending only continues through 11-Dec-2020; therefore, there has to be a lame duck session before that or we'll have another government shutdown. The Orange Menace can still reek havoc.

  • 15. ianbirmingham  |  November 26, 2020 at 6:07 pm

    Trump’s conspiracies have MAGA world talking boycott for the Georgia Senate runoff election

    Driven by Trump’s insistence that Georgia’s elections are indelibly rife with fraud, conspiratorial MAGA figures are calling for a boycott of the two Senate runoff races, slated for Jan. 5, that will determine which party controls the upper chamber.

    Their reason: The two GOP candidates, Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, are not only insufficiently pro-Trump, they may be complicit in Georgia’s electoral fraud.

    Hashtags like #CrookedPerdue and #CrookedKelly are flying around. The two lawmakers’ Parler accounts are brimming with posts accusing them of being secret “liberal DemoRats.”

    The swelling anger is not just emanating from everyday QAnon believers in the MAGAverse. It’s also coming from prominent lawyers working on Trump’s behalf, including Sidney Powell, who was briefly a lead attorney in Trump’s push to overturn the election.

    It might seem counterintuitive that QAnon adherents, a group of pro-Trump diehards, would actively try to damage his Republican allies. Yet the Q mythology has little to do with the fortunes of Loeffler and Perdue, much less the Republican Party. At its core, it’s a theory that Trump is the sole savior from a cabal of satan-worshipping, pedophiliac Washington elites.

    “It's really hard to put aside that worldview, even for just a couple months, to get behind a conventional election,” said Mike Rothschild, a writer and researcher on conspiracy theories who is working on a book about QAnon.

    “When you've been spending years thinking all elections are rigged, the deep state controls everything, nothing you do matters and the only way to stop it is for Donald Trump to win every state, be president for life and destroy his enemies — you're so caught up in believing this radically enormous thing, that you miss the very small thing right in front of you,” he said.

    Even endorsements for the senators from popular QAnon figures, such as Congresswoman-elect Marjorie Taylor Greene, wouldn’t be enough, Rothschild noted.

  • 16. Elihu_Bystander  |  November 27, 2020 at 12:14 am

    MAGA world talking boycott for the Georgia Senate runoff election

    I would not put too much credibility to this article. I believe it is a distraction created by the GOP. We need to support Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff financially to the best of our ability—equal sacrifice not equal contribution. It is also very important that we let the people of Georgia take care of this campaign. Our job is to facilitate their efforts. Stacey Abrams to the rescue.

  • 17. VIRick  |  November 27, 2020 at 7:55 pm

    Yucatán: Marriage Equality Bill Passes in Congress Committee

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Today, 27 November 2020, the Yucatán state congressional committee, the Constitutional Points and Governance Committee, has endorsed the Family Law revision that allows for marriage equality. The measure will now head to the full congress for its third attempt at passage.

  • 18. VIRick  |  November 27, 2020 at 8:09 pm

    Taiwan: Revised, Expanded Marriage Equality Bill Advances

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    The Judicial Yuan has completed the draft bill allowing all bi-national LGBT couples to marry in Taiwan, as long as one person in the couple is Taiwanese. The current law only allows same-sex couples to marry if both partners are from a marriage equality country.

    The draft bill will next be reviewed by other government bureaus, such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of the Interior, Ministry of Justice, and the Mainland Affairs Council.

  • 19. Elihu_Bystander  |  November 28, 2020 at 5:46 am

    In Harsh Rebuke, Appeals Court Rejects Trump’s Election Challenge in Pennsylvania

    “The 21-page ruling by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals was a complete repudiation of Mr. Trump’s legal effort to halt Pennsylvania’s certification process and was written by a judge that he himself [President Trump] appointed to the bench. ‘Free, fair elections are the lifeblood of our democracy,’ Judge Stephanos Bibas wrote on behalf of the appeals court in a unanimous decision. ‘Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here.’”

    It’s a good thing Trump can’t say, “Your fired to Judge Bibas.”

    The text of the ruling is here:

    Update, I just heard on NPR that Trump and his cohorts are going to appeal to SCOTUS.

  • 20. VIRick  |  November 28, 2020 at 10:04 am

    Wisconsin: Milwaukee County Recount; Biden Gains Additional 132 Votes over Trump

    Trump spent $3 million for a vote recount in Wisconsin's two most populous counties to support his baseless claim of ballot fraud, but has lost by even more than what was initially thought.

    County election officials in Milwaukee County completed their recount on Friday, 27 November 2020, and found that Biden actually had a total net gain of 132 votes out of 451,627 votes cast in the county, further boosting Biden's margin of victory. Overall, Biden gained 257 votes to Trump's additional 125 votes, thus producing the net gain of 132.

    Dane County is expected to announce its recount results on Sunday, 29 November.

    According to CNN, statewide in Wisconsin, Biden has 1,630,716 votes (49.4%) to Trump's 1,610,151 (48.8%) for a margin of victory of 20,565 votes. Most of the remaining 1.8% of the vote was cast for the Libertarian candidate.

    In the popular vote nationwide, Biden has 80,104,118 votes to Trump's 73,918,712, for a margin of victory of 6,185,406 votes.

    Count-down – 52 days

  • 21. ianbirmingham  |  November 28, 2020 at 10:09 am

    Senate control brings new urgency to Georgia turnout drive

    Turnout tends to drop precipitously in runoff contests in Georgia. And activists fear there might be even more of a falloff this time, when the excitement of the Trump-Biden race is over. So getting voters to come back to the polls becomes more of a focus than “trying to find new voters or win over voters who voted for your opponent,” said Charles Bullock, an expert on Southern politics at the University of Georgia.

    Historically, that drop-off has disproportionately affected Democrats, so the party faces strong headwinds heading into January. The Republican candidate has beaten the Democrat in seven out of eight runoff elections since 1992, including two U.S. Senate races.

    The African Methodist Episcopal Church in Georgia, which has more than 150,000 parishioners in the state, is asking members to call eligible voters in their congregations, encourage them to vote early and assist with rides if they need help getting to the polls on Jan. 5.

    Bishop Reginald T. Jackson said Black voters are excited and “realize the eyes of the nation are on Georgia. They know people are going to be looking to see whether or not Blacks turn out,” he said.

    The New Georgia Project, a group founded by Abrams, will try to register some of the estimated 35,000 people who have finished their felony sentences and can requalify to vote as well as some of the estimated 23,000 people who are turning 18 before the runoff, Executive Director Nse Ufot said.

    Ufot said the group also aims to knock on 1 million doors before the runoff, up from 500,000 before the general election, and is training volunteers to take coronavirus precautions.

  • 22. VIRick  |  November 28, 2020 at 7:31 pm

    Pennsylvania Supreme Court Dismisses with Prejudice Trump Lawsuit against Mail-In Ballots

    Late Saturday, 28 November 2020, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court dismissed with prejudice a Republican lawsuit seeking to invalidate more than 2.5 million votes cast by mail in the general election, the latest in a string of legal defeats for the GOP as Trump fails to undo his losses in key battleground states. The ruling with prejudice means that the plaintiffs are barred from bringing another action on the same claim.

    Justices on the state high court ruled unanimously that Republican petitioners waited too long to file their suit challenging Act 77, the 2019 law that established universal mail voting in Pennsylvania. Trump allies had asked the court to invalidate all votes cast by mail in the most recent election or, in the alternative, to direct the majority-Republican legislature to choose a slate of presidential electors.

    The court’s written order called the latter option “extraordinary,” noting that it would disenfranchise 6.9 million voters.“The want of due diligence demonstrated in this matter is unmistakable,” the justices wrote, noting that the lawsuit was filed “more than one year” after no-excuse mail voting was enacted in Pennsylvania. The order blamed petitioners for a “complete failure to act with due diligence in commencing their facial constitutional challenge, which was ascertainable upon Act 77’s enactment.”

    Concurring, Justice David N. Wecht noted that the GOP petitioners “failed to allege that even a single mail-in ballot was fraudulently cast or counted.” Legal experts had predicted little chance of success for the suit, which also sought to block certification of election results.

  • 23. VIRick  |  November 28, 2020 at 9:00 pm

    Some Fun Facts about the Presidential Election to "Take a Look At"

    So Trump wants us to "take a look at" the votes in Philadelphia, Detroit, Milwaukee, and Atlanta. OK, but here are some additional places the Orange Menace should also "take a look at," places that also overwhelmingly rejected his ridiculous idiocracy.

    In California alone, Biden received 5,092,644 more votes than Trump. In addition, in the same state, candidates #3, #4, #5, and #6, combined, received a total of 377,086 votes, a figure which is larger than the number of votes Trump received in 5 states that he won: AK, MT, ND, SD, and WY (and for which he garnered 15 electoral votes, while candidates #3, #4, #5, and #6 received zero).

    In New York State, Biden received 1,089,061 more votes than Trump, with Trump only receiving 14.55% of the vote in Manhattan, 16.94% in the Bronx, 25.18% in Brooklyn, and 30.31% in Queens. In Massachusetts, Biden received 1,217,000 more votes than Trump, with Trump only receiving 15.54% of the vote in Boston.

    In Maryland, Biden received 1,003,059 more votes than Trump. In the two counties abutting DC, Montgomery and Prince Georges, Trump only obtained 19.10% (313,000 fewer votes than Biden) and 08.77% (342,000 fewer than Biden) of the total vote, respectively. In nearby Howard County, Trump only received 26.69% of the vote and in Charles County only 28.72%. In Trump's favorite "shithole" city, Baltimore, he only obtained 35.52% of the vote from the combined city/county.

    And of course, Trump did far worse in DC itself, garnering only a single-digit 05.50% of the total vote there (a paltry 18,172 votes), while Biden obtained 92.94% of the total (or 302,265 votes).

    Plus, Trump did not do much better across the river in Virginia, where he only obtained 17.23% of the vote in Arlington, and 17.78% in Alexandria. He did slightly better in Fairfax County, where he garnered 28.24% of the vote, in Fairfax City with 29.94%, in Prince William County with 35.73%, in Manassas City with 37.04%, and in Loudoun County with 36.71%. From these 3 jurisdictions, MD, DC, and VA, one can gather the rather obvious conclusion that the Federal career civil servants are more than fed up with the chaos and duplicity of having to deal with the incompetent Christmas help on a daily basis for 4 long years, let alone with the complete idiocy of the Orange Menace itself. No doubt, too, the multiple government shut-downs have not endeared him to anyone.

    And Trump did quite poorly in a number of urban locales in SE VA, as well. In Richmond City, he only received 15.03% of the vote, 26.06% in Norfolk City, 28.71% in Portsmouth City, 28.97% in Hampton City, 28.68% in Williamsburg City, 32.48% in Newport News City, and 34.78% in Henrico County.

    And then there is Charlottesville where the White Nationalists went on a rampage, after which Trump pompously declared "There were fine people on both sides." Only 12.84% of Charlottesville voters drank that kool-aid, the poorest showing in the entire state, and only 32.36% of the voters in surrounding Albemarle County joined them.

    And then there is Provincetown MA, perhaps one of the gayest municipalities on the East Coast. Despite Trump perversely proclaiming himself to be the most LGB-friendly president ever, only 07.00% of voters there swallowed that malarky, while 92.38% refused.

  • 24. VIRick  |  November 29, 2020 at 4:23 pm

    Now, let us "take a look at" Philadelphia, Detroit, Milwaukee, and Atlanta, all large urban cities attacked by Trump in his hyperbolic rants as being the "most fraudulent" localities in the USA:

    In Philadelphia, Trump received 19.17% of the vote.
    In Milwaukee, he received 29.38% of the vote.
    In Fulton County (Atlanta), he received 26.16% of the vote.
    In Wayne County (Detroit), he received 30.33% of the vote.

    In fact, in Michigan itself, Trump did worse in Washtenaw County (Ann Arbor) where he only received 26.0% of the vote, and almost as poorly in Ingham County (Lansing) with just 32.97% of the vote.

    In Wisconsin, Trump did worse in Menominee County, with just 17.54% of the vote, and in Dane County (Madison) with just 22.93% of the vote.

    In Georgia, Trump did much worse in Clayton County, with just 14.08% of the vote, and in De Kalb County with just 15.75% of the vote. He did almost as poorly in Rockdale County with 29.12% of the vote, in Clarke County (Athens) with 28.14% of the vote, in Dougherty County (Albany) with 29.60% of the vote, and in Richmond County (Augusta) with 30.78% of the vote.

    And of course, Trump did more poorly in Boston, in Manhattan, in the Bronx, in Montgomery County MD, in Prince Georges County MD, in DC, and in Arlington, Alexandria, Richmond City, and Charlottesville VA than in any of the 4 other jurisdictions against which he is focused with his rants about "fraud."

  • 25. VIRick  |  November 29, 2020 at 11:28 am

    Wisconsin: Dane County Recount Results

    In Dane County WI, President-elect Joe Biden's lead over Trump narrowed by 45 votes, as the Dane County Board of Canvassers certified its 2020 presidential general election results in a 3-0 vote, following a recount requested by the Trump campaign. Biden won the county by 181,340 votes and is now poised to be certified as the winner in the state.

    In the recount, both candidates saw a decrease from their election night vote totals, with Biden losing 91 votes, and Trump losing 46 votes, the Dane County Board of Canvassers announced Sunday. The draw-downs were mostly due to a lack of signatures on ballots, either from the voter or a witness. The announcement concludes the Wisconsin recount.

    In the recount, since Biden saw a net gain of 132 votes in Milwaukee County, and a draw-down of 45 votes in Dane County, the overall net gain for Biden was 87 votes. With these adjustments, Biden won Wisconsin by 20,565 votes. The Wisconsin Elections Commission will certify the state's election results on Tuesday, 1 December.

    Count-down – 51 days

  • 26. VIRick  |  November 30, 2020 at 12:01 pm

    Arizona Certifies Election Results; Biden Wins, Kelly to Be Sworn In Wednesday, GOP Senate Majority Shrinks

    Arizona certified its election results and Wisconsin is expected to do the same on Monday, 30 November 2020, further closing the door on Trump's legal battles challenging the results of the 2020 presidential election. Vice President-elect Joe Biden will be certified as the winner in both of those states.

    Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs certified the state's results, with Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, Attorney-General Mark Brnovich, and State Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Brutinel serving as witnesses, as per state law.

    Democrat Mark Kelly, who defeated Republican Sen. Martha McSally on 3 November 2020, will be sworn in at 12 PM EST on Wednesday, 2 December, his office said. With Arizona certifying its election results, Kelly became eligible to take office ahead of the new group of senators-elect from across the nation. After winning Arizona's special election, Kelly will serve the final two years of the six-year term won in 2016 by the late Sen. John McCain, R-AZ, who died in 2018. As of Kelly's swearing-in on Wednesday, the Republican majority in the Senate will shrink to 52-48.

    Kelly is on Capitol Hill as the Senate weighs the nomination of a federal judge for the Southern District of Mississippi and amid stalled talks for a financial stimulus package to help American families, businesses, and communities struggling from the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • 27. JayJonson  |  November 30, 2020 at 12:45 pm

    Indiana Attorney General files brief asking SCOTUS to reverse 7th Circuit decision allowing same-sex couples to be listed as parents on birth certificates.

    The petition from Attorney General Curtis Hill follows a January decision by the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals that affirmed a decision by judges in Indiana’s federal southern district court who found that Indiana laws limiting who can be called the parent of a child were unconstitutional.

    Hill filed also filed a request in June asking the court to review the appellate court’s decision.

    The original case involved Ashlee and Ruby Henderson, a gay married couple from Lafayette who filed a federal lawsuit in 2015 challenging Indiana’s birth records law. They sued the state health commissioner and Tippecanoe County officials because county officials would not list both of them as parents on the birth certificate of their son, who Ruby conceived through artificial insemination.

    The case is among the first dealing with same-sex marriage for the Supreme Court since the confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett.

  • 28. VIRick  |  November 30, 2020 at 4:10 pm

    Arkansas: Been There, Done That, "Pavan v. Smith"

    Today, 19 October 2017, as ordered by the US Supreme Court in "Pavan v. Smith," a fractured Arkansas Supreme Court ordered that same-sex couples must be treated the same as opposite-sex couples in the issuance of birth certificates. But the court again resisted rewriting statutes to provide for equal treatment, as a lower Arkansas court had originally decided.

    Arkansas: "Pavan v. Smith" Redux (Arkansas, You've Already Been Told)

    Little Rock AR – On Friday, 8 December 2017, in a continuation of "Pavan v. Smith" back at the state level, an Arkansas judge has issued an injunction blocking the state from issuing any birth certificates whatsoever until officials are able to comply with a US Supreme Court ruling that the state's birth certificate law illegally favors heterosexual parents.

    "This case has been pending for over two years and it has been more than six months since the United States Supreme Court ruled the Arkansas statutory scheme unconstitutional," Fox wrote in his order. "There are citizens and residents of the state of Arkansas whose constitutional rights are being violated on a daily basis."

    Arkansas: Gov. Hutchinson Issues Executive Directive on Birth Certificate Issue

    On the same date, 8 December 2017, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson issued an executive directive to the Arkansas Department of Health requiring that it list the spouse of the woman who gives birth as a parent, the same for female spouses as for male spouses. This has allowed the Department to begin issuing birth certificates again (a process which had been halted, by court order, between 10 AM and noon, when the executive directive was issued, two hours later).

    Governor Hutchinson's executive directive, although a dollar short and at least a day or two late, finally, is VERY clear as to what is to be expected, a point which tells me they knew what to do all along.

    There was also an identical court case from Florida that had been appealed to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals before the State of Florida finally complied on this same birth certificate matter:

  • 29. VIRick  |  November 30, 2020 at 4:35 pm

    Florida: State Reaches Settlement on Issuing Accurate Birth Certificates

    Tallahassee FL – Today, 11 January 2017, almost two years to the day after same-sex marriages became legal in Florida, the State has finally settled the lawsuit, "Chin v. Armstrong," filed against it by married same-sex couples who were denied accurate birth certificates for their children.

    On 13 August 2015, two couples, along with Equality Florida Institute, the largest organization representing LGBT Floridians, filed said lawsuit challenging Florida's refusal to issue birth certificates listing both spouses as parents of their children. The plaintiffs are represented by the NCLR and Florida attorneys, Mary Meeks and Elizabeth Schwartz.

    Under the terms of the settlement, the Department of Vital Statistics agrees to treat same-sex spouses the same way it treats different-sex spouses for purposes of birth certificates, and will issue corrected birth certificates to married same-sex couples at no charge, including couples who were validly married in any other state at the time their children were born in Florida. The State also agreed to pay some attorneys' fees to the couples' attorneys.

  • 30. davepCA  |  November 30, 2020 at 1:59 pm

    What possible rationale could the state or the AG use for building an argument in favor of treating married same sex couples any differently than married opposite sex couples that would pass any test for constitutional compliance? Ain't gonna happen. Even with a more conservative SC, that ship has sailed.

  • 31. VIRick  |  November 30, 2020 at 5:06 pm

    Indiana is just so "special." Actually, this is a "left-over" case from 2015-16, suffering from a serious time-warp, dating from the era when Pence was the still a$$hole governor of the state.

    On appeal to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, "Box v. Henderson" was assigned to the 3 most staunchly retrograde judges on that bench. The three sat on this case for 32 months before finally unanimously ruling against the state and in favor of the married couples. The reason for the inordinate delay was simple: two of the judges on the case, Easterbrook and Sykes, were also on Trump's "short-list' for an appointment to the Supreme Court. They never issued their ruling until after it had become obvious that both had been passed by.

  • 32. bayareajohn  |  November 30, 2020 at 5:39 pm

    Yet another intimidation scheme from the orange menace. Put judges on the short list and let them walk on eggs for as long as it takes. Justice can wait if a promotion is dangled and a fair decision puts it at risk.

  • 33. VIRick  |  November 30, 2020 at 6:47 pm

    The ruling in "Box v. Henderson" was actually written by the third judge in the case, Flaum, who cited the precedent set by "Pavan v. Smith" on this matter of birth certificates multiple times throughout the ruling. Easterbrook and Sykes merely rubber-stamped this correctly-written decision, as the overwhelming precedent gave them no other choice, thus making this a unanimous decision from the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. The Final Judgment in the case was issued on 17 January 2020.

    Personally, I would not wish to be in the same room when the Indiana A-G, Pence, "Mother," or anyone else with a masochistic suicide wish had the audacity and the unmitigated gall to tell Diane Sykes that she ruled "incorrectly" on this matter (which is what the Indiana A-G is currently doing). Left to her own devices, Sykes would never have ruled the way she did (and Easterbrook, no doubt, would not have either), but precedent had already been set in "Pavan," and she was simply following precedent, something that judges routinely do as part of their job description.

    However, the 32-month delay in the issuance of the instant ruling in "Box v. Henderson" is of much greater concern, as that delay was completely within the 3 judges' control. And waiting for an appointment from Trump, as already noted, was truly an exercise in "Waiting for Godot." Sykes, in particular, really should have known better.

  • 34. VIRick  |  November 30, 2020 at 7:49 pm

    Wisconsin Governor Certifies State's Electoral Votes for Biden

    Late Monday, 30 November 2020, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers formally certified Joe Biden's victory, signing the paperwork to award the state's 10 electoral votes to the President-elect after a recount in Wisconsin's two most populous counties. The governor signed the papers shortly after the Wisconsin Elections Commission finalized the statewide results.

    Biden's victory was affirmed after the results of the Trump campaign-requested recount in two counties, Milwaukee and Dane. With Wisconsin's certification, election officials have now certified the election results in all of the close states in which Trump had launched legal battles, including Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Arizona, the latter having certified its results earlier Monday.

    Count-down – 50 days

  • 35. JayJonson  |  December 1, 2020 at 7:59 am

    Federal Judge has signed off on a settlement in the Michigan case that led to the SCOTUS ruling on transgender employment discrimination.

    U.S. District Judge Sean Cox on Monday approved the terms of the settlement between the estate of Aimee Stephens, who died in May, and her former employer, R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, which going forward is prohibited from firing employees on the basis of transgender status.

    Under the terms of the agreement, Harris Homes is to pay $130,000 to Stephens' estate, including $63,724 in back pay with interest and $66,276 in damages.

    The consent decree also says Harris Homes, which operates three funeral homes in southeast Michigan, must pay another $120,000 to the ACLU Foundation for costs and plaintiff attorney fees.

    The settlement stems from the case that rocketed Stephens to national prominence after she became the first transgender person to have a civil rights case heard and decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

    The justices in June ruled that federal law prohibits employment discrimination based on gender identity, but Stephens of Redford Township didn't live to read the high court's ruling, passing away on May 12 due to complications from kidney disease. She would have turned 60 next week.

    "We are pleased that all sides were able to come to an agreement regarding damages and attorney fees," said Jay Kaplan, Stephens' long-time attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan.

    "The settlement of this case is bittersweet in that Aimee passed away before matters could be resolved."

    After six years of employment, Stephens was fired from her job as an embalmer and funeral home director at Harris' location in Garden City in 2013 after informing her boss, Thomas Rost, that she was transitioning from male to female and planned to start wearing appropriate women's business attire to work.

    On behalf of Stephens, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2014 sued Harris Homes. The EEOC is also party to Monday's settlement.

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