Monday, October 8, 2018

Redistricting -- Conference held at U of A in Tucson over the weekend

On Friday and Saturday, October 5 and 6, the University of Arizona hosted a conference on redistricting. The good news is that for anyone interested, the sessions were recorded and are now available for others to view.

The school brought together mathematicians, legal scholars, other stakeholders and experts to discuss recent history and the latest developments in technology, the political and legal environments surrounding this very important issue.

Redistricting is at the very core of how political power is apportioned in our country. Based on a Constitutionally mandated national census taken every ten years, population growth and regional shifts are determined. The growth and shifts justify changes to district lines. Some states gain seats, others lose seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. State legislatures and many local governments are also subject to decennial redistricting requirements.

The conference included talks/discussions on related mathematical, census concerns, legal trends and Arizona's experience. The eight sessions, focused primarily on the long-standing practice of Gerrymandering and how to minimize the ability of political operators to take advantage of ways to gain improper advantage over "the other" side.

To that end, these are the sessions with links to the video:

Math, Politics, and the Law presented by Moon Duchin from Tufts University.
The Need for Redistricting Reform presented by Justin Levitt from Loyola Law School

Measures of Gerrymandering, a panel including Deb Hughes Hallett (U of A), Gregory Herschlag (Duke University); Kristopher Tapp (St Joseph’s University); Moon Duchin (Tufts University)
U.S. Census and Importance of Fair & Accurate Count a panel including Lisa Sanchez (University of Arizona); John Thompson (former Director, U.S. Census Bureau); Ken Strasma (HaystaqDNA); Leonard Gorman (Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission) Independent Redistricting in Arizona Mary O’Grady (Osborn Maledon); Joe Kanefield (Ballard Spahr LLP); Colleen Coyle Mathis (Chair, AIRC); Bart Turner and Dennis M. Burke (authors of Prop.106); Ken Strasma (HaystaqDNA) Legal Lessons and Precedents from Arizona Mary O’Grady (Osborn Maledon), Joe Kanefield (Ballard Spahr LLP); Hon. Thomas Zlaket, (former Chief Justice, Arizona Supreme Court); Bruce Adelson (Federal Compliance Consulting) The Role of the U.S. Supreme Court in Gerrymandering and Redistricting with an Update on Recent Cases presented by Paul Smith (Georgetown Law Center and Campaign Legal Center) National Outlook for 2020 Redistricting - Arizona and Beyond a panel including Galen Druke (FiveThirtyEight); Brad McMillan (Bradley University, in Illinois); Kathay Feng (Common Cause, in California), Leah Jaffe (League of Women Voters, in Tucson); Rebecca Green (William & Mary Law School, in Virginia); Nancy Wang (Voters Not Politicians, in Michigan)

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

UPDATED: GOP annihilation scheduled for November 6, 2018?

The Arizona Eagletarian is on record as saying that Trump's Supreme Court nominee will not be confirmed. Obviously, I'm not clairvoyant, but that's my gut hunch. If I'm proven wrong, not only will I be sorely disappointed, but...

IF Bart O'Kavanaugh (or his alter ego, Brett Kavanaugh) is confirmed by the senate and takes a seat on the US Supreme Court, it will be a scandal the scope and depth of which has never been equaled in the history of our country.
It will also mark the end of the legitimacy of the Supreme Court. 
Thirdly, it will be the beginning of an annihilation the likes of which the GOP has never, heretofore, ever faced, culminating when the votes are counted in the mid-term election in all 50 states six weeks from today.

UPDATE October 8, 2018

My hunch about the fate of Bart O'Kavanaugh's nomination was proven wrong.

This afternoon, while I exercised at a local community college gym, Bart was sworn in. Of course this greatly disappoints me.

Both Bart and Trump made self-congratulatory comments at the ceremony. More important, however, is the fact that the GOP and corporate media are already working diligently to hoodwink the American electorate. They suggest GOP voters are energized and Democratic voters are discouraged. I dispute that unfounded nonsense.

The US Supreme Court has suffered a great blow to its legitimacy. We will have to wait to see how the Roberts Court will respond/react.

Despite pronouncements by Mitch McConnell, American voters will not be denied. The election is less than 30 days away. Arizona begins early voting on Wednesday, October 10.


Today it is a case of the grasshopper pitted against the elephant. But tomorrow the elephant will have its guts ripped out.
Le Loi, Vietnamese emperor, 15th Century