This morning, New York State Supreme Court in the Bronx held a hearing in the matter of Adriano Espaillat vs. The Board of Elections in The City of New York addressing issues with the counting of ballots and alleged voter suppression in the increasingly close congressional race between veteran Congressman Charlie Rangel and State Senator Adriano Espaillat. Lawyers for both candidates and the Board of Elections appeared before Judge John Carter who, in a small victory for the Espaillat campaign, ruled all ballots cast in the June 26 election must be preserved and barred the BOE from transmitting results to the New York State Board of Elections once they are certified so that the Court may review any disputed paper ballots, alleged instances of voter supression and issues with the results from the electronic voting machines. Those issues will be examined in another hearing scheduled for July 11. Judge Carter’s ruling also left open the possibility that a “new primary election” will be held “upon a finding that there has been such fraud and irregularity as to render impossible a determination” of who won last week’s election. Read More
Law & Order
Bush Administration Lawyer Thinks Healthcare Ruling May Allow Government to ‘Force Us’ to ‘Eat Organic Kale’
John Yoo, a former Department of Justice attorney in the administration of George W. Bush who wrote the so-called “torture memos” that provided the legal rationale for the government to use “enhanced interrogation techniques” such as waterboarding and sleep deprivation is not pleased with the Supreme Court’s decision upholding President Barack Obama’s healthcare law. Mr. Yoo, who is now a professor at Berkeley law school, penned an editorial in which appeared in Saturday’s edition of the Wall Street Journal in which he speculated the healthcare ruling may allow the government to “force us to buy electric cars, eat organic kale, or replace oil heaters with solar panels.” Read More
A few minutes ago, the Supreme Court issued a 5-4 ruling authored by Chief Justice John Roberts upholding the most controversial portion of President Barack Obama’s healthcare law–an individual mandate requiring most Americans to purchase health insurance or face fines by 2014. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which was the president’s signature achievement and top priority in the first part of his term, was signed into law on March 2010. It was intended to provide coverage for 50 million uninsured Americans by allowing anyone under 26 to stay on their parents’ policy, forcing states to provide Medicaid to those under 65 whose incomes are up to 133 percent of the poverty level, barring insurance companies from denying coverage or charging premiums to people with pre-existing conditions and mandating most uninsured Americans purchase insurance or face fines by 2014.
Though the Court upheld the individual mandate, they did limit the scope of the provisions forcing states to provide Medicaid. According to SCOTUSBlog, the Court ruled the individual mandate is constitutional because it can simply be read as the imposition of a tax.
The individual mandate has been the most controversial element of the law and led to 26 states challenging its constitutionality in the courts. Opponents argue the federal government cannot require to people to purchase insurance, while supporters say it is necessary regulation of commerce.
In advance of the ruling, Mitt Romney’s campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul sent out a “campaign update” to reporters this morning summarizing the candidate’s position on the law. Read More
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer issued a statement reacting to the Supreme Court’s decision striking down three of the four provisions of the state’s controversial immigration law, SB1070, which she signed into law in 2010. Ms. Brewer said she’s glad the Court upheld the provision she called “the heart” of the law, which allows police officers to check someone’s immigration status in the course of investigating other crimes as long as there is “reasonable suspicion” that person is here illegally.
“Today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court is a victory for the rule of law. It is also a victory for the 10th Amendment and all Americans who believe in the inherent right and responsibility of states to defend their citizens,” Ms. Brewer said. “After more than two years of legal challenges, the heart of SB 1070 can now be implemented in accordance with the U.S. Constitution.”
Other supporters of the law, including Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Congressman Steve King, also responded to today’s Supreme Court ruling. Read More
Today, the United States Supreme Court ruled 5-3 mostly in favor of the federal government and struck down portions of Arizona’s controversial immigration law SB1070. Both President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney quickly released statements reacting to the ruling. Read More
Mayor Bloomberg’s Spokesman Explains How Only One Reporter Was Arrested During The Zuccotti Park Raid [Update]
This morning, we wrote about an interview NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly and the Department’s top spokesman Paul Browne gave to the Queens Chronicle in which Mr. Browne discussed the arrests of reporters following the police raid on the Occupy Wall Street encampment in Zuccotti Park.
“Paul Browne, the deputy commissioner for public information, who accompanied Kelly to the interview, added that only one journalist was arrested during the operation, despite stories to the contrary, which he called ‘a total myth,’” Chronicle Editor in Chief Peter C. Mastrosimone wrote.
We noted that this seemed to be a discrepancy with an email Mayor Bloomberg’s top spokesman sent in response to a post on the Awl describing reporters arrested while covering the Occupy Wall Street raid in which he acknowledged five reporters with press credentials were arrested.
We reached out to both Mr. Browne and Mr. Loeser to explain why they seemed to be in disagreement. A heated Mr. Loeser called us back to explain that only one reporter was arrested in Zuccotti Park itself while the other reporters were arrested in other areas that day.
“He’s talking about the issue at Zuccotti Park,” Mr. Loeser said of Mr. Browne’s comments. “There’s not a discrepancy.” Read More
An “open source assessment” of Occupy Wall Street’s planned May Day protest produced by the NYPD SHIELD counterterrorism program warns of possible “militant eletments” among the protesters and a variety of “disruptive activities” including “vandalism” and “a blockade of New York City bridges, tunnels, and ferries.” This evening, Twitter accounts affiliated with Occupy Wall Street began sending out the assessment, which was identified as “leaked.”
Paul Browne, the NYPD’s chief spokesperson, said the document was “hardly ‘leaked.’”
“This is a summary of stuff the press has reported on all week and that has been disseminated on OWS related sites,” Mr. Browne said. “It was sent on our website used by thousands of security directors for universities, hospitals, corporations, and other employers who are welcome to share it with anyone they want, and who do.” Read More
A coalition of Occupy Wall Street protesters and attorneys for civil rights organizations filed a Freedom of Information Law requesttoday asking the NYPD to reveal “all information concerning the policies guiding the law enforcement response to Occupy demonstrations since last September.” The FOIL request is part of efforts to investigate the government response to Read More
Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez was arrested and charged with Obstructing Governmental Administration and Resisting Arrest during the NYPD’s eviction of the Occupy Wall Street encampment in Zuccotti Park November 15. This morning those charges were dismissed in Manhattan Criminal Court. Though the district attorney’s office claimed they “determined that the officers who were involved in Read More
A group of 110 advocacy and activist organizations teamed together to send a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder today asking him to investigate whether the NYPD violated the constitutional rights of American Muslims with its widespread Muslim surveillance program. Signatories of the letter included; the New York Chapter of the NAACP, Occupy Wall Street, Muslim Advocates, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice and the Muslim Bar Associations of New York, D.C., Florida, Southern California and Chicago.
“The NYPD appears to have targeted individuals and communities for surveillance based upon nothing more than their faith. Such measures are just the latest manifestation of the NYPD’s discriminatory practices against racial, religious, and ethnic minorities,” the letter said. “In light of the breadth of information now available, we strongly urge the Department of Justice to commence a prompt investigation into NYPD surveillance of Muslims in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut, including determining whether potentially unlawful surveillance continues.” Read More