Voting Rights

A federal judge on Tuesday ordered Ohio officials to reinstate a week of same-day registration and early voting before an election, finding a 2014 state law eliminating the practice violated the Constitution by depressing African-American voting.

Judge Michael Watson said this in his ruling:

They have greater time and resource limitations that may prevent them from waiting in line on Election Day and are less likely to vote absentee.

Never mind that there are no impediments to voting absentee.  Not economic, transportation, time, [or] child-care constraints that increase the cost of voting.

The Obama/Lynch Justice Department

A federal judge in Texas has ordered hundreds of US Department of Justice lawyers to undergo ethics training, accusing the agency of a “calculated plan of unethical conduct.”

The extraordinary order by US District Judge Andrew S Hanen says Justice Department lawyers intentionally misled him in the course of a lawsuit filed by Texas and 25 other mostly conservative states challenging the Obama administration’s immigration policy.

Hanen wrote in his order

Not Only a Correct Ruling

…but a correct rationale, also.

US District Judge Henry Hudson upheld Virginia’s voter ID law that requires prospective voters to show a State-approved photo ID before they vote.  In response to the Democratic Party’s (it was the plaintiff, of course) claim that the law was politically motivated, Hudson held in part

The court’s mission is to judge not the wisdom of the Virginia voter ID law, but rather its constitutionality[.]

Hear, hear.  Hudson went on:

While the merits of this voter identification law, and indeed all aspects of Virginia’s voting regime, can be reasonably debated, it remains true that Virginia has created a scheme of laws to accommodate all people in their right to vote[.]

More Fallout

…from President Barack Obama’s (D) timidity in the South China Sea.

Beijing has responded to the January election of Tsai and her pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party by intensifying pressure on Taiwan with military exercises, diplomatic moves and cross-border deportations and prosecutions.

It’s quite explicit.  Here’s Zhu Weidong, Deputy Director Institute of Taiwan Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing:

It is impossible for the mainland to get along with a party or a leader that doesn’t recognize the one-China policy or seeks to split the country.

Another Right Answer by a Federal Trial Court

A federal judge ruled Tuesday that a key provision of the District’s new gun law is probably unconstitutional, ordering DC police to stop requiring individuals to show “good reason” to obtain a permit to carry a firearm on the streets of the nation’s capital.

US District Judge Richard J Leon found that the law violates the “core right of self-defense” granted in the Second Amendment….

And another protection of our individual liberties.  Here’s what the 2nd Amendment says (again, for those of you steady readers of this blog):

Zhang Dejiang Inspects

Zhang Dejiang, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, and so the number three man in the People’s Republic of China’s government is on an inspection tour of Hong Kong this week.  The Wall Street Journal‘s op-ed on the matter has a surprisingly naïve subtitle: …it’s a chance for China’s No 3 to hear local voices.

There’s this instead, though.

Officials say that 6,000 police will be on patrol and equipped to lock down roads and walkways whenever Mr Zhang moves about during his three-day stay.

And

Media interviews won’t be allowed during official events.

Yes, It Does

The 9th Circuit is going to release, soon, its ruling on a lawsuit that involves California’s claim that it can mandate that firearm manufacturers incorporate safety devices into their firearms.

Anthony Hakl, a lawyer for the state, said the gun-rights groups sought to establish a constitutional right to purchase any handgun of one’s choice from whomever one chooses.

“No such right exists,” he wrote in a September brief.

It’s impressive that a highly trained lawyer should make such a statement with a straight face.  Alternatively, it’s depressing that our law schools do such a poor job of teaching our Constitution.

Maryland’s Anti-Gun Law

…is back before the 4th Circuit, this time for an en banc hearing, after an earlier 3-judge panel had vacated the prior trial court’s ruling upholding the law.  At issue is Maryland’s

Firearm Safety Act of 2013 banned possession of firearms designated as “assault weapons,” a broad category that includes dozens of types of high-capacity weapons, including the popular AR-15 rifle.  Maryland also banned sales and purchases of ammunition magazines of more than 10 rounds among other provisions.

The Maryland Attorney General, Douglas Gansler (D), is arguing

…AK-47s, the state argues, are “suited, for military-style assaults,” not sport shooting or self-defense….

Futile Gestures

President Barack Obama (D) sent the guided missile destroyer USS William P Lawrence to sail to within

12 nautical miles of a land feature in the South China Sea known as Fiery Cross Reef[.]

Fiery Cross Reef is a terraformed “island” that the People’s Republic of China has transformed and on which it’s built a 10,000 foot runway and associated military support buildings; the facility is in the Spratly Islands in the southern part of the South China Sea, a body the PRC has seized, occupied, and been claiming as an inland PRC lake.

The sailing is the

Free Assembly

Beginning with the freshman class that enters in fall 2017, Harvard University students will no longer be allowed to hold leadership positions in campus groups while also maintaining membership in the exclusive, single-gender final clubs that dominate the school’s social scene.

And

The policy barring students from holding leadership positions in official groups while being members of what the school calls “unrecognized, single-gender social organizations,” also extends to the younger fraternities and sororities.  Students will also not receive the dean’s endorsements for elite scholarships and fellowships if they’re found to be members of the groups.